What really happens when your phone is lost? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

What really happens when your phone is lost?

Have you ever had the sinking feeling that you lost your smart phone, only to have someone find it and turn it in?

One study estimates that every American will lose or misplace their phone at least once a year. 

But what do people really do first when they find a phone?  

Symantec, a security company, did a test. They placed 50 "lost" cell phones in believable yet easy-to-find places and then watched what people did when they found the phone.

Ninety-six percent of people turned on the phone.

If it wasn't locked with a password, they checked the email icon and read through emails. Approximately 60 percent looked at address books and apps like Facebook and 80 percent tried to look at files labeled with titles that included "HR" or looked like company information. Roughly 50 percent saw an app called "Remote Admin" and tried that app.

So why is this bad?

Cyber Expert Theresa Payton breaks it down:

1.  Pictures: Personal photos and images of important documents are typically stored on phones.

2.  Payments: If you use your phone to make or receive payments.

3.  Company access: You might be giving away company secrets via your lost phone.  

4.  Automatic access to your life: If you stay automatically logged in to email, apps or social networking sites, your accounts are now in the hands of a stranger.

MORE ALARMING STATS:

• 89 percent of the "lost phones" showed that people tried to access personal apps

• 72 percent of the "lost phones" had their private photos looked at

• 43 percent of the "lost phones" showed that someone tried to access their online banking

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

1.  Automatic lock time out: Set it to less than 15 minutes to lock your phone with a password

2.  Automatic wipe: Have a phone locator or wipe feature ready to go in the event your phone is lost or stolen

3.  Prepare now: The time to figure out what to do is before you lose your phone! Go to your vendor's website and look for tips on what to do if your phone is lost.  You may have set up steps that you will need to do while the phone is in your possession so you are ready if something happens.

WEB RESOURCES:

Infographic that shows the test resultshSymantec describes their project.

If you have an iPhone, Apple describes the steps you can take if you lose your phone.

If you have a Droid, Google has tips on how to locate your phone.

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