Invasion of the iSnatchers — Don’t Let Smart Phone Thieves Steal Your Life

High performance employees, managers and entrepreneurs use all kinds of tools to get their work done efficiently. To maintain contact with associates, employees, customers and others. To manage their time and their lives.

Among the tools they use are smart phones and tablets. Those phones and tablets are not just valuable tools. They also are containers for other tools like expensive apps, passwords, contact lists and connections to databases that can hold a great deal of information. Critical information. Confidential information. Secrets.

They may also hold music files that cost a goodly amount of money to download. Or videos.

They may contain pictures of your family. Your home. Your workplace. Pictures that could help someone burglarize or rob you. Or, combined with the other information on your phone, steal your identity.

Yet, few people are as careful with these devices as they would be with other items of lesser value. If you have been following recent news reports, you may have noticed that more and more people are having their smart phones or tablets snatched from their hands while they are using them. That means not only does the thief get an expensive device that must be replaced, he also gets — and can sell — all the goodies and information on the device. One of my brothers calls this trend “The Invasion of the iSnatchers.”

If you have one of those devices, you must take great care to prevent theft. Here are some ways.

1. Be aware of your surroundings, including the people. Most of the victims of smart phone theft are commuters on subway trains and els, shoppers and people getting out of cars while talking on their phones. The thieves look for users who are so focused on their devices that they don’t notice they’re being targeted. If you tend to walk around in a “communications fog,” you are a good target. Pay attention.

2. Keep your smart phone in your pocket and use an earphone. It’s very difficult to snatch something out of your pocket. Pickpocketing is a skill and much different from snatch and run.

3. If you get a message, find a safe place to view and answer. What’s more important, instant communication or safe communication?

4. If you have a tablet and use it in public, secure it. Have a case for it that has a wrist strap. Or use a chain to secure it to a belt, waist pack or purse. Use the same approaches you would use with an expensive laptop. And only use it when you need to. Showing it off in public is asking for trouble.

5. Get GPS tracking and locating for all your devices. It can help you recover your device if it does get snatched.

The new technologies are exciting and interesting. We all love how quickly we can get answers, make reservations, send tweets and the thousands of other wonderful things we can do with our smart devices. Let’s all just exercise some sense while we’re using them. So we can keep on using them and not get them in the hands of the iSnatchers.