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Protect Your Identity from a Stolen Device

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In 2012, the popularity of smartphones skyrocketed to a 46% ownership rate for American adults according to Pew Research. In 2013, worldwide sales of smartphones and tablets are projected to hit a record 1.2 billion. Both of these figures would increase if other mobile devices like laptops and notebooks were also taken into account. This growing trend is great news for retailers, and even better news for thieves who specialize in ripping off unattended mobile devices. Unfortunately, this crime rate is also increasing; more than 2 million laptops are swiped every year according to laptop security company LoJack.You can have network security protections loaded on your mobile device, but if your device is physically stolen, it will not take too much effort for a crook to gain access to your personal data, or even information on your business. If your device is stolen, you can still keep your information safe if you act quickly and change your account settings before they are cracked by the slimeball who stole your device. Here are some actions that you can take to protect yourself from identity theft from a stolen device.

Create New Passwords
For every online account that you have accessed from your mobile device, you will want to switch out your old passwords for new ones. When creating new passwords, be sure to use complex letters, characters, and numbers, and do not use the same password on different accounts. It is wise to change your password not only for the accounts associated with your finances, but also for all of your other accounts, this includes social media, email, instant messaging, etc. The idea here is that if any of your accounts are compromised, personal data can be harvested and your identity can be stolen.

Account Monitoring
To be safe, you will want to routinely check your online accounts for suspicious activity and fraudulent purchases. Credit card companies already offer monitoring services, and they will watch your accounts more closely if you ask them to. You may even want to put a freeze on your credit card if you know you have made purchases from your previously owned device. It is also a good move to contact your bank and change your debit card pin number.

Report it to the Authorities
Report the theft of your device to the authorities and the manufacturer. Even if you have no leads, the police might be able to see patterns of thefts to catch the criminal in the future, or perhaps they will find your device in a stash of confiscated electronics. When reporting the theft, you will want to give the device’s make and model, along with the serial number. If you do not have your product serial number written down, then you should do it immediately in case it is ever stolen. You can even be your own detective and check local pawnshops, Craigslist, and eBay for a chance to recover your device.

Protect Your Clients
Things can get a little sticky if the stolen device has company data that includes sensitive information about your clients. You may legally be responsible to notify all the clients affected, and inform them that your company had a data breach. Even if your state does not legally require you to report the theft, it is still an ethical move to do it. Your clients will appreciate your honesty, although they might be annoyed at your carelessness. You’ll want to announce how you will be taking action in the future to prevent data theft.

Being careful and proactive is the best kind of security against the theft of a personal device. At Tektonic, we can install software on your device that will safeguard against thieves accessing your data, as well as protecting you from cybercriminals. Give us a call at (416) 256-9928 and we will be happy to inform you on the best practices for device security, as well as provide your company’s network with security solutions tailored for the needs of your business.

Date: January 7th, 2013, Author: Jorge Rojas

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