Johannesburg – Stolen or lost smartphones potentially pose risks to your personal data and there is increasingly a need to protect the information on your device, says phone maker HTC.

In April, Fin24 reported that phone theft in South Africa is a big problem with the likes of Vodacom’s insurance arm having said that theft and loss make up 60% of its claims, followed by physical damage (35%), and liquid damage (5%).

Vodacom at the time also revealed that top targets for thieves include devices made by Huawei, BlackBerry, Samsung, LG, Ericsson, Nokia, HTC and Apple.

Seeing as phone users are increasingly turning to smartphones to store their personal data, phone maker HTC has presented the following tips to keep this information safe on these devices.

1. Set a screen lock

A screen lock is designed to help to protect your personal information and prevent others from using your mobile device without your express permission. Most modern smartphone platforms make it easy for you to put a password in place that prevents unauthorised people from accessing your device when the screen is locked.

2. Consider installing a security application

Many mobile apps are available to enhance the security of mobile devices. These security-related apps are often available for free or at a low price and can provide the capability to remotely lock, locate, or wipe your device.

3. Back up your data

You probably keep valuable information on your smartphone, including photos, videos, and contacts, so backing up your data in case your smartphone is lost, damaged, or stolen is a good practice.

4. Set a SIM PIN

Many devices support the use of a personal identification number (PIN) to lock your SIM card. Setting the SIM PIN may help to prevent people from accessing your cellular voice or mobile data services without authorisation. That will help prevent a thief running up your phone bill after he or she has stolen it.

What to do if your device is lost or stolen

Report the loss to your mobile network as soon as possible: If your device is lost or stolen, immediately notify your provider so that they can suspend service to your device.

Remotely locate, lock, or wipe your device using a security app: If you have installed a security app you may be able to use it to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your device.

Report phone theft to the police if your phone has been stolen: You must report the theft of your device to your local police department. This is a legal requirement of the Regulation of Interception of Communication and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act 2002, better known as RICA. You will probably also need a police case number if you planning to claim from insurance.

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