There’s a new breed of mobile apps that help you track down your stolen phone, but the cons might outweigh the pros.
Thorn Technologies’ VP of Engineering Dan Rusk recently spoke with Fox Baltimore about the effectiveness and safety of security mobile apps that help you recover your stolen phone.
Check out the video below (note that there is a pre-roll ad prior to the segment):
Over 2.1 million Americans had their phone stolen in 2014, and another 3.1 million people lost their phones. This spawned a category of security apps that help you find your phone or even track down the thief.
When someone tries to log in to your phone using the wrong passcode, these apps snap a photo of the perpetrator and either emails you the picture or sends it to a file storage program like Dropbox.
But these apps may not be worth it, as Dan spoke about.
“I think that if you have an actual thief stealing your phone, they are going to turn off your phone immediately so they won’t get tracked or have their picture taken,” Dan stated.
These apps might also be able to spy on you using your phone’s camera.
“The chances of catching a photo of a thief are so low that I feel like the security implications of having this app that can take pictures of you will kind of outweigh the benefits of trying to capture this thief,” warned Dan.
Dan also provided alternatives to using these security apps.
“I think the most important thing you can do is write down IMEI number — which is your device serial ID basically and if you have that you can report it to the police. They can put that on a black list so it can’t be sold at a pawn shop,” Dan explained.
If your phone is stolen Rusk says, “you can report it to your network provider and they will check when that device is logged into a cell tower.”