Protect the information stored on your phone

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A 12 On Your Side Alert about the danger of losing your cell phone — these days they carry a lot of personal information, that can be a nightmare in the wrong hands.

Ronnie Giberson is just like most of us.

"You have no idea how I get into a panic when I don't know where something is, like a checkbook or my cell phone," said Giberson.

In fact he has misplaced his phone several times - each time realizing it right away.

"Usually it only takes me two to five minutes."

However, for many of us, that phone is out of our hands for much longer.

"I guess I like to think people might turn it on quickly to find out who the owner is, turn it in to nearest store, desk, to make sure the owner is reunited."

But cyber expert Theresa Payton said a study by security company Symantec found that 96 percent of the people who found a phone — did a little snooping first.

Starting with checking emails — and not stopping there.

"They looked at address books, clicked on the online banking app, and some went into facebook and other apps to play around with it before turning it in, or some left the phone where they found it," said Payton.

Theresa said before you lose your phone, you should plan what you would do if it becomes lost.

"Talk to your vendor to see if they have a remote feature to track a lost phone or remotely wipe the phone."

That would destroy all of the data on it — if you can't find it.

And most important, she said, is to password-protect your phone with the auto-lock feature.

It's what Ronnie does.

"I don't think anyone should not have password protection on their phones," said Giberson.

While a phone lock may be annoying, the experts say it is well worth it.

Another tip, report your phone stolen right away to your cell phone service provider — and have it deactivated so you won't be responsible for any outrageous charges.

For other tips on what to do if your cell phone is lost, you can visit your cell phone carrier's website.

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