Cellphone theft is becoming more common. After reviewing millions of consumer claims,, Asurion, the global leader in technology protection services, estimates that over $5 billion worth of cellphones are lost or stolen annually. From this claims data, Asurion found that iconic devices such as the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy series are 35 percent more likely to be lost or stolen than other smartphones.
Manufacturers are taking note of the need for improved device protection. Apple’s iOS 7 will include a new function called “Activation Lock,” which has been dubbed the “kill switch” by many media outlets, and its iPhone 5S will feature a fingerprint scanner. While this type of protection and theft deterrent may help curb mobile device thefts, when a customer’s device is stolen, he or she is left without a phone, needing to replace the device on their own if they don’t have insurance coverage.
Nearly 50 percent of iPhone claims processed by Asurion are the result of a lost or stolen device, and while it remains to be seen if theft deterrent initiatives such as kill switches, fingerprint scanners and databases will curb crime, many consumers are left unprotected with hundreds of dollars in replacement costs looming overhead.
Consumers should also consider the sensitive data stored on their device and the consequences of that information getting in the wrong hands. According to a survey of 5,000 consumers, Asurion has found that 50 percent of Americans say they have information on their mobile devices they consider “irreplaceable.” A full 43 percent never back-up that content and only 50 percent of all device owners password protect their phones.
“We live in an age where many of our personal keepsakes and so much of our private information lives in digital format on our mobile devices,” said Bettie Colombo, spokesperson for Asurion. “Just as we lock the door when leaving the house or put our most valuable possessions in a safe deposit box, so too should we care for our digital property. By taking appropriate precautions, we can ensure our digital memories are always accessible; our private information secure; and our ability to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues maintained.”
Asurion asked consumers about the ways in which they use their smartphones, the content they keep on those devices and the precautions they take to protect their data. Among the findings:
•76 percent use their smartphone to take photos
•62 percent send and receive email
•54 percent access social media
•43 percent shop
•40 percent bank
With more than 150 million customers, Asurion is the clear leader in mobile device protection, working closely with the leading carriers to provide the most comprehensive protection plans at a low monthly cost. Asurion Mobile Protection allows customers to back-up content on their cellphones, as well as to remotely lock and locate a lost or stolen device. And in the event the device cannot be recovered, customers can easily wipe their sensitive information, and Asurion will ship a replacement overnight, quickly restoring connectivity.