True Crime

Guard Your Pockets: U.S. Smartphone Thefts Doubled Last Year

And more than a third of Americans don't protect their phones with any security features.
Thieves want this. (Getty)

Thieves want this. (Getty)

Thieves must be catching on about the addictive wonders of Candy Crush, because U.S. smartphone theft doubled from 2012 to 2013, Consumer Reports says.

Based on a survey of adult Internet users in the U.S., Consumer Reports estimates that about 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft in 2013 — nearly double the number they projected in 2012 (1.6 million). They also estimate that 1.4 million smartphones were lost and never recovered in 2013.

Besides the obvious tragedy of not being able to use Instagram, the potential for thieves to steal your personal information is really the most troubling aspect of the epidemic. If there’s no passcode required to unlock your phone, and if the data on your phone isn’t protected, a thief could easily get their hands on all your important information — from your credit card number to your Seamless password.

Consumer Reports also asked their survey-takers about the degree to which they protected their smartphone data. Among other statistics, 36 percent said they used a lock screen with a four-digit PIN, 29 percent backed up their data to a computer or the web, 22 percent installed a Find iPhone-esque locating service, and eight percent said they used software that could erase the contents of their phone.

34 percent took no security measures whatsoever, so if they were the ones to have their smartphones lost or stolen, we guess it sucks to suck.

As Consumer Reports and Yahoo both note, it’s expected that most smartphones will come installed with anti-theft kill switches by the summer of 2015.

Until then, take measures to protect your phone’s data — or just guard your phone with every fiber of your being. Maybe you could invest in one of these super cool iPhone 5 belt loop leashes.

Er, or just keep it in a zipped pocket.

(h/t Yahoo)

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com