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Consumer Reports: Smartphone theft in the US doubled last year

Posted: , by Maxwell R.

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Consumer Reports: Smartphone theft in the US doubled last year
If there is any silver lining to the smartphone loss figures released by Consumer Reports, it is that despite the growth of the smartphone market, we are not actually losing that many more compared to 2012.

Smartphone losses in 2012, meaning devices that were not recovered, numbered approximately 1.2 million devices. In 2013, losses only went up to about 1.4 million.  Considering the growth of the segment, that is not a sharp upward trend.  The figures for smartphone theft however, increased dramatically.

In 2012, about 1.6 million smartphones were stolen. The following year, that figure doubled to 3.1 million units stolen. Those numbers hurt even more when you consider the percentages of smartphone owners that secure their devices with a PIN lock or password.

Only about 36% of smartphone owners set a screen-lock with a 4-digit PIN. Those that use an actual password account for just 11%. 8% had software that could erase the contents of the smartphone. About 29% back up their data.

If you do not take any security measures for your smartphone, you are not alone, 34% overall do not do anything to protect their device. Still, those that are doing something are trending to outnumber those that do not.

How much does the loss and theft cost consumers annually? About $2.5 billion when accounting for replacement costs, insurance deductibles, and the cost of buying coverage with the new phones.

Consumer Reports: Smartphone theft in the US doubled last year

source: Consumer Reports

13 Comments
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posted on 18 Apr 2014, 22:33 3

1. networkdood (Posts: 6267; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I wonder how many of these are of kids in school....

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 14:15 1

13. blazee (Posts: 270; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


I'm sure alot of people are reporting phones stolen w insurance just to get another one in mail

posted on 18 Apr 2014, 22:41

2. cncrim (Posts: 497; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


Know many send phone over sea then claim insurance.

posted on 18 Apr 2014, 22:43 2

3. express77 (unregistered)


People should be more careful with their phones.

posted on 18 Apr 2014, 22:49 1

4. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2961; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


Smartphones are getting more popular each year, getting more premium, advanced, and expensive. Not only that, but smartphones also carry a lot of personal data like banking information, passwords, photos, videos ,etc. Not only that but stealing a smartphone is a lot easier than stealing a car. A lot of people are very careless about their smartphone, leaving it at their table at a resturant while they use the restroom, leaving it in their car while they get gas, etc.

posted on 18 Apr 2014, 23:59

5. vincelongman (Posts: 1135; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


I've actually been surprised by the increasing price of smartphones (in my country, NZ, at least)
I thought prices would come down slightly because of increasing competition between various OEMs.
But in my country, a few years a go, the S2 (and other Android flagships) were about $800-900 and iPhone 4 was $1000
Now the S5, M8, Z2, 5S are all ~$1000-1100.

Only good price is for the Nexus 5, which is $600, but kind of hard to find (sold by a smaller carrier or imported)

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 01:36

6. AfterShock (Posts: 2798; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)


Wow, theft or loss sucks.
I can only imagine as I've never had either happen to myself.

Guess I'm used to EDCs from packing pocket knives since I could walk an later adding edc lights..phones became another edc, and if its not stowed, its donated.

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 04:33

7. DCSeerIvan (Posts: 35; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)


I've lost my HTC One X :(

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 05:11 1

8. 0xFFFF (Posts: 2955; Member since: 16 Apr 2014)


The news makes up and plays up the stories about smartphone theft so the government can get manufacturers to put in "turn off your phone remotely" type stuff. As one might imagine, this sort of remote off switch is very useful for bad guys when they plan on doing bad things.

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 09:07

11. rallyguy (Posts: 541; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


Yep. And since NSA can not only monitor your phone, soon they will be able to turn it off if they choose. Although I'm sure they could do it now with software.

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 05:49

9. chocowii (Posts: 327; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)


My phone is lost, thanks Obama!
Dumb Muricans...

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 09:05

10. rallyguy (Posts: 541; Member since: 13 Mar 2012)


How many of these "thefts" are BS? If you loose your phone, generally the only way for it to be replaced by insurance is to file a "theft" report with your local police department.

posted on 19 Apr 2014, 13:23

12. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6380; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Just don't buy a popular phone to get a theif attention

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