Protect Your Smartphone and Personal Identity

The Santa Clara County District Attorney cautions residents on the potential fallout of data mined from stolen iPhones and other portable electronic devices.

People, especially on the Peninsula or in Silicon Valley, spend a lot of time on their smartphones. So much so, that it's become an extension of who we are.

People bank, pay bills, take photos and videos, store client information—even engineers test alpha-versions of their apps—all from their smartphones. As a result smartphones, due to the large amount of information on them, have increasingly become the target of thieves. These types of "iCrimes" have reached epidemic proportions, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

"Siri isn't programmed to cry for help. Your cell phone won't call home; your laptop will work just as well on the lap of the crook who stole it from you," warns District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a new public service announcement (PSA) released by his office Tuesday.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, cellphones are stolen in one out of every three robberies nationwide. In Santa Clara County cell phones are stolen everyday from "backpacks, cars, cafés and even from the home of the late Steve Jobs," Rosen began in the PSA.

And at issue isn't the hardware, but the private information and data stored in these smart electronic devices that includes tablets and laptops.

"We find that once a crook has access to your email account, they are a few short steps from taking over your online banking records," said Deputy District Attorney Thomas Flattery in the PSA.

Watch the PSA included with this article aimed to help educate and guide the public on how they can protect themselves from the thefts of personal electronics.

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