Smartphone thefts nearly doubled in 2013

A lot of owners are taking precautions to prevent theft.
MCT Regional News
Apr 22, 2014

Nearly 3.1 million people in the U.S. had their smartphones stolen in 2013.

Consumer Reports’ Annual State of the Net survey noted that last year’s smartphone theft total was nearly double the 1.6 million thefts that the company projected in 2012. The report also noted that of the total thefts in 2013, nearly 1.4 million smartphones were lost and not recovered last year, up slightly from the 1.2 million projected in 2012.

However a lot of smartphone owners are taking precautions to prevent theft. One precaution is using a screen lock with a four-digit PIN, something that has increased by about 50 percent in 2013, according to the report.

Other ways to avoid smartphone theft include: using screen locks stronger than four digits or installing software that could locate their phone or remotely erase its contents; backing up data to a computer or online; installing software that can locate the phone; installing an anti-virus app; using a password or an or unlock pattern; installing software that can erase the contents of the smart phone; and using the smart phone’s other security features such as encryption.

While wireless carriers and the smartphones they sell offer many security features to prevent theft, the report said 34 percent of these subscribers took none of these security measures.

“Given how much personal information smartphones can contain – from photos, contacts, email accounts to social-networks, shopping, and banking apps – losing one of these devices or having one stolen can definitely be cause for panic,” said Glenn Derene, Consumer Reports’ electronics editor. “Our survey revealed that the number of lost and stolen smartphones is on the rise, and too many smartphone users are needlessly imperiling their personal data by not taking basic security measures.”

Beware of door-to-door solicitors

Now that spring is here, the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office reminds residents and business owners to use caution when approached by someone selling services or products door to door, and carefully read over contracts or agreements before signing them.

The BBB also noted that charities, like businesses, are also advised to use bbb.org to research any company offering to assist with fundraising activities.

The consumer always has the option to tell the seller to give you a few days before making a decision. Before contracting with any business, consumers should take some time to do some research on that business by visiting bbb.org website and reading the BBB Business Review.

Lantern recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that Pier 1 Imports is recalling nearly 11,000 hanging glass star lanterns that were sold in stores and online between Aug. 13, 2013 and Feb. 14.

The agency said the solder welds on the lantern can melt due to heat from a tea light. This can cause the candle holder to break and expose the flame, posing a fire hazard. The lantern is a three-dimension, star-shape made of gold-toned metal and glass. The lantern measures seven inches wide, seven inches deep and seven inches high. A metal tea light cup sits inside the metal and glass star.

The lanterns were sold between $16 and $20 in the following colors with the following SKU numbers on a hang tag attached to the item: amber (SKU 2717349), clear (SKU 2717351) and red (SKU 2724169).

No one has been injured, but there have been five reports of the solder melting on the lanterns, including one report of the lantern falling apart and burning a rug.

For more information, contact Pier 1 Imports at 800-245-4595 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Central time) Monday through Friday, Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Consumers can also go online at www.Pier1.com.

Have a consumer question, issue or concern? Contact Ed Richter at 513-755-5067 or at Ed.Richter@coxinc.com.

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By Ed Richter - Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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