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What people do when they find a smartphone

Posted: , by Alan F.

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What people do when they find a smartphone
Anti-virus firm Symantec decided to see how honest people are when it comes to finding a lost smartphone. So the company set up a test that involved dropping 50 smartphones in 5 cities (New York City; Washington D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Ottawa, Canada). The phones were dropped in high-traffic areas like a mall food court and a bus stop. So just what are the odds that the smartphone you just lost will be returned to you?

The results were not good. All but two of the devices were accessed by the person who found it (although the finder could have been looking for a contact number or some way to identify the owner). Only half of those who found one of the lost phones made any attempt to return the unit. Even worse, Symantec created bogus files on the "lost" devices with tempting titles like "HR Salaries" and a stunning 80% of those who found one of the phones took a peek at the planted information. Half of the finders tried to use a bogus remote access app trying to connect to a corporate network. 60% tried to read social media information and email.

The test was called "Honey Stick" in reference to the honeypots tests used to test a security process that leaves an open server in an attempt to tempt hackers to take control of it. Symantec's blog mentions a number of things you should do before your phone is lost or stolen. First, you should password-protect your phone, install an app that can wipe your device remotely and install find-my-phone software from your online app store. For a complete list of Symantec's suggestions, visit the sourcelink.

source: Symantec via ReadWriteWeb

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posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:27 1

1. GALAXY-S (Posts: 701; Member since: 07 Jun 2011)

Take the battery out and hope for the phone not to be password protected and if not make a bunch of purchases and long distance calls!!! :) soo evil
JK ive lost 2 phones in the last 6 months and it sucks cuz i didnt have any password on it or data that wiped my phone remotely :( im still pissed!!!
We all know humans are crazy like this so these numbers are not suprising at all :0

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:27 13

2. aar0983 (Posts: 51; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)

My personal suggestion would be that if you find a phone return it to the owner and once you see the person tell them to pay it forward. That would be a practical solution and not try to sell the phone or keep it. Now if all your attempts to return the phone fail then you can go ahead and keep it.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:32 15

3. spindoctor55 (Posts: 18; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)

People basically suck...I found a smartphone a few years back...a high end device for it's timeframe...checked out the contacts and found "Dad". Called dad and told him I had what I thought was his son's phone. Needless to day he was quite happy and impressed...Pay it forward...it feels good!!!

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 23:41 2

20. Skyrim (Posts: 36; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)

Someone surprisingly did everything you described for me and i too was pretty shocked when i got it back.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:40 4

4. hello (Posts: 25; Member since: 21 Jan 2011)

people could of tried to open social networks, business documents, or emails to see who the person is and how to find them.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 14:05 4

8. ddxmms (Posts: 170; Member since: 09 Feb 2012)

you dont need to see a personas states or tweets to fine who they are.. all you need to open is the caller on contacts names..

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:54

5. kastor (Posts: 43; Member since: 15 Jan 2012)

well nothing like that happend to me but i will prodably keep phone,but maybe i will turnt it back to owner.dont know until taht happens

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:55 7

6. carp45 (Posts: 8; Member since: 09 Oct 2009)

A lot of the phones are not good anymore after the people notify the provider especially verizon and sprint that it was lost or stolen because they de activate it and black list the phone and it is useless at that point

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 13:58 5

7. CivicSi89 (Posts: 349; Member since: 23 Jul 2011)

This is one of the reasons why i prefer CDMA a bit. on a GSM phone all they gotta do is pop the SIM out and they can use it whenever they want as opposed to CDMA where you cant sell it or do anything with it. and it can be blacklisted.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 14:12 7

9. cybervlad81 (Posts: 89; Member since: 04 Apr 2011)

Areas would vary a lot I think on this, I live in a small town in Mississippi, and 99% of the time if you loss something it gets given to an attendant or like on mentioned with a phone, they will call the Mom or Dad contact. When I was a manager at a major retail store here, we had at least 3 phones a day come through and wallets too, half of which had cash hanging half out of them returned to the main desk. Best lost and found was a guy found a baggy of weed and brought it up the the desk.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 14:57 9

12. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


id keep the weed.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 14:29 1

10. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1488; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)

first thing ....take out my camera ,take pictures and upload to facebook

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 14:52 1

11. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)

I would play around with the smartphone, check some apps and features then return it.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 15:56

13. Cwebb (Posts: 501; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

So thats where I left my Evo!

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 17:27 4

14. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

what happened to finders keepers?

if the owner really cared about the phone they never would have lost it.

some might say that the owner subconsiously wanted to lose the phone just to litigate the person who found it. f**k that passive aggressive a$$hole. take the battery out put it in your pocket and walk away. serves him right.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 17:35 1

15. shimmyx20 (Posts: 280; Member since: 03 Mar 2009)

Lots of Good Guy Gregs here, judging by the comments. Glad to see that. :)

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 18:14 6

16. roscuthiii (Posts: 2241; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

I look for dirty pics to upload on the internet or an SD card I can re-purpose. Then I take a pic of my junk and send it to all the contacts on the phone.

Err, I uh... I mean I take it to the nearest place of business to be recorded in their Lost & Found records. O:-)

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 18:41 4

17. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


dont forget to text the wife that you want a divorce and check-in at the nearest stripclub. send a mass email warning all previous sexual partners that you contracted "e. all of the above". and leave creepy comments on the owners underage cousins' facebooks.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 21:03 3

18. _idan_ (Posts: 10; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

I'm actually surprised that half of the people returned or tried to return phone. My faith in humanity is somewhat restored.
Although I'm not necessarily against those that think salvage rights apply... Still remember case 18 years ago of dude returning $100000 to Royal Bank that fell off Brinks truck and got big fat nothing in return. After a public outcry they gave him $100 gift certificate.

posted on 09 Mar 2012, 23:23 3

19. frydaexiii (Posts: 1475; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

If it's an iPhone, sell it...If it's anything else, probably try to return it...

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 00:29 1

21. Forsaken77 (Posts: 553; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)

Why can't I ever be the one that finds a new smartphone that a dumb company puts down somewhere as a test? And if they really wanted to see if the person would return it or not, they could've made it easier for the person to contact the supposed owner by putting a direct-dial shortcut for "HOME" on the home screen. I bet most people would've called it and left a message.

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 00:31 1

22. Stuntman (Posts: 839; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)

I witnessed someone drop an iPhone. A person picked it up and bought it into the restaurant where the phone was dropped and gave it to one of the cashiers. Several minutes later, the person who dropped the phone returned to the restaurant and retrieved his phone. This was in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Mind you, the person who dropped his phone, dropped it while getting into his car and then ran over the phone while driving away. It appeared as though the phone did still work afterwards, but the glass was cracked.

After reading this article, I decided to use a security lock on my phone an tablet.

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 06:27

23. A.aoudi (Posts: 125; Member since: 14 Feb 2012)

Symantec will say any kind of crap to make you buy their security solutions and besides people always feel some sort of strange feeling when their phone is not around them and are quite used to its weight so you automatically know something is missing.

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 10:56 4

24. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)

If I found a Smartphone I would return it to its' rightful owner. If iFound an iPhone iWould wipe my A$$ with it and then return it to the rightful Shē€p because to keep it would be baaaa-haaa-haaaa-aaaaaad…

If I found a Galaxy Note I would go to town and then use the money I would have spent to buy one and go on vacation.

posted on 10 Mar 2012, 11:34 2

25. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

ive found a few phones. Most got returned... some people never called back and their phone got trashed... because it wasnt a nice phone. lol

posted on 11 Mar 2012, 10:15

26. iami67 (Posts: 321; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

the big problem with putting passwords on this is when the phone is found who have no way of contacting the person or knowing who it belongs to. I have found phones in the past and would call home or mom. But if you have it locked i cant see these numbers there fore your out of luck

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