If you've had your smartphone stolen you know the feeling of utter panic and then anger. What you shouldn't feel is that you're alone, as 3.1 million Americans were smartphone theft victims last year.
The figure is nearly double the thefts reported by adult smartphone users in 2012. And despite the spike in thefts, and all the heartache of losing family photos and personal information, there's no big increase in smartphone user security activity.
A Consumer Reports study on the smartphone theft trend states users are not protecting their data or their device as they should be. One third aren't taking even the simplest measure, such as using the built-in PIN code feature for phone access. And even fewer are taking more substantial measures such as installing software that tracks the phone and remotely eliminates content if it lands in the wrong hands.
The news comes as smartphones remain a big consumer demand with new handsets hitting the market at fast speed. This year was the debut of Samsung's Galaxy S5 offering greater features and functionalities and iPhone lovers await the iPhone 6, reportedly due out in September.
It also comes at a time when wireless carriers, lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups and handset makers have been debating regulation that would require a kill switch be included in every smartphone. Starting in mid-2015, smartphones sold in the United States will include a feature that will let consumers remotely wipe data if they authorize such activity to a wireless carrier.
Apple's Activation Lock feature, on the iOS7, requires a user's Apple ID and password before the Find My iPhone feature can be turned off, but it does not come pre-enabled and users overlook the option, according to the Consumer Reports study. The Galaxy S5 has a similar feature but is only available with two carriers.