I often write about more sophisticated attempts to extract money from consumers in financial trouble but a story out of China caught my attention because of it’s simplicity and financial impact.
For those of us whose lives now feel dependent on a smartphone, those little devices are getting more and more expensive. As of today, the latest Apple iPhone 7 can cost up to nearly $1,000.
And while our smartphones even try to use the latest security features to protect our data; pass codes to finger prints, efforts are made to protect users. But that’s not enough.
In China it appears a big risk to smartphone users isn’t the electronic hack or fancy software app hack but just the simple nap.
Some of made a living out of appropriating mobile phones right from under the distracted or tired eyes of people.
One person, 30-year-old Cai, fessed up to making his daily job just stealing mobile phones from people not paying attention. Cai has managed to gather up about 20 stolen mobile phones just by taking the phones from plain sight. He confessed that one simple strategy is to sit down next to the distracted person and observe where their attention was. A quick outreach of his hand the phone vanished with Cai sauntering out the door.
So this is a good time to remind you that if you leave your phone on your desk, tabletop, or chair so it is readily available; it’s also available to the clever low-tech crooks as well.
Without a bit of commonsense protection, your $1,000 mobile phone can vanish in the blink of an eye. Keeping your phone out of snatch reach is probably a prudent thing to do.
In China the art of the steal is made even easier as tired people drift off in internet cafes. Cai just makes the rounds picking up the phones in plain sight. Like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve never done that but rumors are it’s an easy but wet thing to do.
Other places to think twice about leaving your phone out and convenient would be at the library or while waiting at the airport. I don’t know about you but in the middle of an exhausting trip, a layover is an invitation to take an accidental nap.
So the next time you are tempted to leave your cellphone laying on that table top as you have coffee with a friend – don’t.