Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would make stealing a cell phone, computer, laptop or tablet a felony offense.
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How to protect yourself
Tips from The Wireless Association to protect your data on your smartphone if it is lost or stolen:
Be Aware. Know your surroundings, be mindful of where you use it and don’t create an opportunity for a thief to steal it.
Lock It. Set a hard to guess password to protect your device and change it on a regular basis.
Add Apps. Get an application that allows you to remotely track, lock or erase your smartphone.
Back It Up. Save your photos, contacts and other data. It’s always a good idea to have a backup copy.
Insure It. If you are prone to losing things, you may want to consider insuring your device.
AFTER your smartphone is lost or stolen:
Report It. Immediately notify your wireless provider. If your device is lost, tell your provider to put a “hold” on your account so that if it ends up being stolen, you’ve prevented unauthorized usage. Report the theft to police. Tell them what tracking apps you have installed that may help them locate the thief.
Locate it. If it has been stolen, activate the tracking app from a safe location and remote lock your smartphone so the thief cannot access your personal information.
Erase It. If you have sensitive information or you believe your smartphone won’t be returned, it’s best to remote “wipe” it.
What do you think?
We asked people on our Facebook page to tell us what they think of plans to make cell phone and computer theft a felony. Here’s some of their responses:
Kyle Bussey: I don’t think it’s a good idea. The police have enough things to worry about and the jail and court system is already overcrowded. Phones now a days have applications to wipe the data. If the owner wasn’t proactive enough to prepare for the theft, they will have deal with the consequences.
Steve Turhone: The guy that stole my van hasn’t stolen another one in 11 years. Hes been in prison 11 years. Yup, punishment really works.
Chris Little: Theft should be a felony period for adults.
Mariellen Green: Laptops, yes. Tablets and smartphones? I guess. Consumers should be much more cautious and not even keep such information on devices that are easily lost or stolen.
Kay Lovell: While I agree that the laws need to be stronger with tech theft, I also see that our prisons are overcrowded and underfunded as it is.
Jackie Phillips Weatherly: It’s just like stealing a wallet in some instances. Stronger penalties for all crime would be good. This would be a great place to start.
Lisa Gagnon: For many young people, they are viewed as status symbols or toys. I’d hate to see the life of a young person ruined because he stole a smartphone just to play games.