01 September, 2022
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Why Do Criminals Target Smartphones?

01 September, 2022

The statistics tell the whole story, it’s likely you or someone you know has been a victim of smartphone theft…but why do criminals target smartphones? 

Nowadays we view our smartphones as an extension of our arms. You’d sooner leave the house without your keys than your phone, and without it, you feel lost. Suddenly you realize all the things you need it for. It stores your passwords, online banking details and, most importantly, treasured memories with friends and family. It’s also incredibly prone to theft. 

The 21st century has witnessed a smartphone crime epidemic. Smartphone thefts have steadily risen as their value to criminals increases with the cost of the device itself. 

In the US, where 85% of the population own a smartphone, one in ten are theft victims Almost 70% of that figure never see their device again. Of approximately 280 million US smartphone users, 28 million are victims of theft, with 20 million of those victims unable to recover their devices. 

In reality, however, this should come as no surprise. Read on to find out why criminals target smartphones and how SmartLOX is providing the solution. 

Easy to steal and convert into cash 

44% of smartphone victims had their device stolen after leaving it in a public setting.  

Firstly, smartphone theft is prevalent simply due to the number of devices used worldwide. There are a staggering 6.64bn smartphone users globally, a number up almost 50% since 2015, with over 80% of the global population now owning one. Not only are they everywhere, they’re also pretty expensive, too. The average cost of a smartphone in 2021 was almost $320, therefore, naturally resulting in a higher risk of being targeted by criminals. 

Nowadays, we’re much more comfortable in restaurants, cafes, and workplaces. It’s easy to become careless, leaving our devices on display at our tables, and increasing the chance of both targeted and opportunist theft.

Although often resold on the secondary market, the true value of a smartphone often lies in the data it stores. Financial information aside, our devices contain photos and videos capturing significant and irreplaceable life moments and memories. As a result, victims pay over the odds to retrieve a lost or stolen phone. It’s not really the device they want back, just the priceless sentimentally held within.

You aren’t the only one who values your data 

Much of the time, our concern isn’t with the physical device itself, rather with the data contained. Although devices can be expensive, in the wrong hands, your data is likely to be even more valuable.

Your phone knows you. It knows where you live, eat, drink, and work. The sheer volume of personal information stored on your phone makes you vulnerable to identity fraud. It contains contact lists, emails, private messages, photos, and videos, leaving a trail of personal information leading directly to your wallet. For these reasons alone, it offers a positive risk-reward ratio to criminals looking to harvest your details or resell them on the secondary market. 

Easily released into the secondary market

Currently, the most effective method of tracking and retrieving lost and stolen phones is by using the device’s IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity). Your IMEI is a unique 15-digit number containing your device’s model number, network provider, country of origin, and purchase details. It allows network providers to identify, block, and blacklist devices that are reported as stolen. Blacklisted phones cannot be connected to the network, making them unusable and slashing their financial worth to criminals.

The problem is that IMEI numbers aren’t freely shared between network providers, so recovery is highly unlikely and little prevents them from being resold on the secondary market. 

Jumping through hoops to get your phone back

Recovering a lost or stolen phone is difficult. An estimated 70 million smartphones are lost each year, but only 7% of those ever find their way back to their rightful owner. 

One of the reasons for this is that the standard procedure for victims of smartphone theft is time-consuming. Victims need to contact various independent parties that don’t actively communicate with one another directly. 

Firstly, you need to inform your network provider and request your IMEI number if you haven’t previously made a record of it. Next, notify local authorities, providing your IMEI so they can file a report. You’ll also need to contact your insurance company and, if you manage your money by smartphone, your bank. 

Adding further concern, criminals have now worked out how to tamper with your IMEI number, wipe it before it enters the secondary market, and clear any trace. 

Why do thieves target smartphones? It’s easy, they’re expensive, and the current system for tracking, locating, recovering, and returning lost and stolen devices is ineffective. 

Introducing SmartLOX

Fortunately, LOX Network has developed a revolutionary, easy-to-use mobile device security app, harnessing blockchain technology with the ambitious aim of eradicating smartphone theft for good. 

The all-in-one SmartLOX application allows you to block, blacklist, and set a bounty to reward users who successfully return your device. Thanks to a unique dual-NFT model, LOX Network helps users create irrefutable proof-of-ownership, verifiable on the blockchain, to better secure their devices and improve recovery rates. 

Visit our website for more information and join our community for the latest news and updates on all things SmartLOX. 

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Jeremy Rodgers
Content Manager

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