Theft Warning: Teens & Tech Toys

Teenagers and the amount of technology they need is always up for debate but what happens when that expensive new iPad or laptop, that Mom and Dad bought for back to school, suddendly vanishes.  Or the new smartphone some teens worked all summer to buy is stolen.

A new warning was issued today by local RCMP now that the school season is in full swing and tech toys are out in full force in classrooms and lockers of almost every teen.

Over the past year police agencies across Metro Vancouver, have noticed an increase in street robberies and thefts involving mobile phones, particularly smart phones.  The high priced gadgets are great cash grabs when sold online.  Not only do people with fancy phones need to be extra careful when in public but also when buying or selling online.  A new trend in recent years has been potential buyers or sellers being victims of theft when meeting people that are found online.  A knife or gun being pulled for a tech toy that is worth a few hundred dollars is becoming a scarey reality.

Catherine Ciceri is a local mother of twin girls and saw the police warning out today.  Her teenaged girls worked all summer to save and buy new iPhones and pay for monthly charges.  She noticed that the girls tend to take better care of their phones having paid for them out of their own pocket vs. the time they had blackberries gifted to them.

With the new warning out by police, Ciceri says making your kids aware is key.   “Although there is always a risk of theft, even for distracted adults, my girls know to be very aware in public and in particular, on public transit.  As much as possible, when they’re in public without a parent, they know to use their phones only in the of emergency.  They’ve seen guys on the ferries watching people with smart phones very closely and know that that is how those thefts occur.  The thieves watch them, then distract them, then move in to take the phone.  They are aware that theft of iPods, iPads, iPhones, etc. is very prevalent.”

Ciceri says she has worked with her teenage twins to come up with some tips and rules on how to keep their smartphones out of the hands of thieves.

1.     They use the password protection on their phones

2.     They’ve both downloaded IOS6 and use the new feature “Find My iPhone”

3.     At school, they always have their phones secured in a zippered pocked or in their locker.

4.     This really isn’t a security thing but our rule is that they cannot use facebook, email and or send picture messages at school (mostly to reduce costs and maintain focus on school).

Some great advice and something local police agencies are echoing in their warning.  The personal information – including financial information – on our tech toys these days is of huge concern to local robbery units and identity theft teams.

In June 2012, Surrey RCMP Robbery Unit obtained charge approval against an individual who committed a number of these crimes in the Surrey area. Manjinder NAGRA (22) is currently awaiting a court date on 14 charges.  backstory

Here are some additional tips for preventing mobile phone theft include:

  • Avoid using your phone on the street in full view. If you do have to use it, be discreet
  • Be attentive to your surroundings and weary of anyone following you.
  • In the event your phone is stolen, report your theft to the police and contact your network provider as soon as possible so they can disconnect it and prevent any unauthorized calls or texts
  • Take note of the serial number of your phone and keep it in a safe place
  • Consider software that will remotely locate your phone using built-in GPS

For more information and tips on protecting your property, please visit the Protect Yourself section of our website.

By: Kuljeet Kaila (local media personality and writer for local Tech companies, Matrix Connectivity Solutions and Logiix)

(Did you know – how tech blogs now appear on www.theprovince.com Main page and Desi Vancouver)

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