Always be aware of your surroundings when you use your smartphone. Not paying attention makes you vulnerable

We all carry electronic equipment these days, whether as smartphone, laptops or tablets and they are a prime target for thieves. International SOS, a leading medical and travel security services company, offers global travelers advice on how to stay safe and secure when traveling with mobile devices this summer.

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Alex Puig, International SOS’s Regional Security Director for the Americas said: “As mobile devices become more expensive — especially on the black market — we expect to see them more frequently targeted by thieves, especially among tourists, during summer travel.

“It’s extremely important that travellers do not let their guard down and ignore their immediate surroundings, while negotiating a deal on the phone or texting a client. Not paying attention opens you up to a robbery or assault. And never, ever, talk without a hands-free device or text while driving, especially in an unfamiliar country. That is a recipe for disaster.”


Ahead of the busy summer travel season, International SOS offers the following tips for travelers:

1) Always remain aware of your surroundings while using your mobile device in public – and ensure your valuables are adequately secured. It can be easy for a thief to simply grab your luggage or laptop bag and run, if you are not alert. It can also lead to assault or express kidnapping.

2) Keep mobile devices hidden when not in use – don’t become an attractive target for thieves.

3) Don’t place a phone on a table or bar so it can be close at hand – keep it in your pocket or purse.

4) Ensure all mobile devices are password protected, making it difficult for thieves to gain access if stolen. Passwords should be easy for you to remember, but hard for a thief to crack.

5) Make sure that all mobile devices are equipped with the “Find My Phone App.” This can help authorities track down a stolen device.

Make sure you install the App: ‘Find My Phone’

There are ways for the locked screen to display a phone number and a message to ‘please call if found’. There are many honest people out there who will return a lost device.

Be careful of open Wi-Fi hotspots and networks. Do not pass sensitive information through public Wi-Fi hotspots, as this information may not be secure. Also, be sure your phone, laptop and tablet have the latest operating systems, as updated software has patches for many known issues.

According to data released by the Federal Communications Commission  in 2012:

1) 30 – 40% of all robberies in major cities involve the theft of mobile phones.

2) In Washington, D.C., mobile phones were taken in 54% more robberies in 2011 than in 2007.

3) Cell phones are stolen in 38% of robberies in Washington, D.C. and in New York City, over 40%.

Globally, the rise is similar:

According to January 2013 figures from the UK’s Metropolitan Police, 300 mobile phones are stolen in London every day – and 70% of items taken in personal robberies are mobile phones.

  • About International SOS

International SOS is a leading medical and travel security services company. It cares for clients across the globe, from more than 700 locations in 76 countries. The company’s expertise is unique: More than 10,000 employees are led by 1,200 physicians and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect members.