Cellphone theft is incredibly high in South Africa, with a shocking 11 404 reported incidents of common robbery in the first quarter of 2023 – an increase of 7.9% from the previous year, it’s essential for South Africans to be vigilant.
South African women are targeted almost five times more often than men, over the past year, we’ve seen that over 80% of our cellphone claims were from female customers. Gauteng remains the hotspot for cellphone theft and incidents typically spike on Thursdays and Sundays.
Nowadays, phones are essentially bank cards so if your phone is stolen, make sure to de-link your bank account from your device and alert your bank immediately to prevent criminals getting access to the funds in your account. This compilation video of phone snatchers shows just how easy it is for thugs to get their hands on your phone. To avoid becoming a victim, we offer the following tips:
· De-link: If your phone is stolen, immediately de-link or deactivate your banking app. Every second counts so make sure you know how to do this as soon as possible.
· Block: Then contact your cellphone service provider to block your SIM card. Doing so will prevent criminals from accessing any OTPs (One Time Pins).
· Backup: Regularly backup your contacts, media and other data. Password protect these backups to make sure that nobody can access them.
· Digital protection: Set a strong pin or password and use biometric authentication to protect sensitive data on your phone.
· Track: Set up and activate any mobile tracking software that comes with your phone, or download similar software from a trustworthy, verified and highly rated third-party.
· Anti-theft bags: Use anti-theft bags, cases, or straps to make it more difficult to steal your phone. Bag slashing is very common, especially at big concerts and events.
· Look out: Be aware of your surroundings at all times, look out for suspicious behaviour and avoid being distracted by calls, messages, media or other activities.
· Don’t paint a bullseye: Don’t leave your phone in plain sight on a car seat, on a table, in an open bag or even in your hand while walking.
· Be wary of strangers: People randomly trying to make small talk might have the best of intentions but maintain a healthy sense of scepticism as criminals have been known to use these tactics to get their hands on phones.
· Insurance purposes: Keep a safe record of your phone’s PUK and serial numbers.
Nowadays, one’s life is stored on their phone, while insurance covers you against theft, loss and damage, it’s best to always be on high alert. It’s important to remember that your life is more
important than your phone. With a good backup strategy in place, phones and contacts can be replaced.