December 13, 2011

Survey: Holiday travelers likely to lose mobile devices

The holidays are a time for tropical getaways, traveling to Grandma's house to see family and friends and, according to a new survey from AVG Technologies, one of the likeliest times a person will lose their mobile device.

According to the survey, "Lost in Transit," 35% of laptops and 38% of mobile phones are lost or stolen while in transit and that, alarmingly, 82% of lost or stolen devices are never recovered.

Lost in Transit polled 5,620 users around the world to determine which devices were most often lost or stolen over the past year. Based on the results, AVG advised consumers to take extra precautions to protect their gadgets this month.

"The holidays are a joyous time of year and the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a missing smart phone or tablet — especially since those devices hold a wealth of valuable finance, travel and other sensitive personal information," said JR Smith, CEO of AVG.

Based on more facts from the survey, AVG created the following list of tips to help keep mobile devices safe during the holiday season and beyond.

1. Carry your device in a place you can easily check — and where you would notice immediately if it were to disappear. Whether lost or stolen, the key to keeping track of mobile devices is awareness. An overwhelming 78% of survey participants said they were either in a rush or distracted when their device went missing. What to do? Designate a specific place (such as an inside jacket pocket) where you always keep it. Secure the device in that spot upon leaving the house or office every time so that it becomes routine and the device can be easily located. More importantly, consumers should stay alert and be aware of surroundings when travelling, whether it's the daily commute or the airport security line.

2. Use a password! According to the survey, 61% of lost smartphones are not password protected, giving thieves easy access to all of a consumer's personal information. Without exception, passwords should be mandatory operating procedure for smartphones, laptops, tablets and any other mobile device with valuable data.

3. Spring for insurance. Consumers can further safeguard their lives by properly insuring their beloved gadgets. Most manufacturers and service providers offer easy methods to replace stolen devices and, for a nominal fee, offer exceptional peace of mind.

The company also encourages consumers to consider downloading software specifically designed for the security risks associated with mobile device usage.

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