Troubling trend: robbers now targeting cell phones, says CMPD - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Troubling trend: robbers now targeting cell phones, says CMPD

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A cell phone. Everyone has one -- and now Charlotte Mecklenburg Police say they're at the center of a troubling new crime trend.

According to CMPD, they've seen a spike in robberies, both armed and strong-arm, where cell phones are the target.

Christine Waggoner, of Charlotte, said being robbed for her cell phone as always been a fear.

"In fact, I'm always afraid someone's going to take my cell phone because you have so much personal information on it," she admitted.

That treasure trove of information is exactly what Major Jeff Estes with CMPD says thieves are looking to get their hands on.

"Either partially wipe or wipe a cell phone and bypass your locking devices that you have and access your data in a matter of minutes," he said.

So how do you protect yourself?

Download the Find my iPhone or Android's Locate my device app on your phone so you can protect your personal info before a thief can get to it. Next, call 911 so police can start tracking the stolen phone right away. Finally, know your password so you can access your phone remotely.

Something Regina Reid, who owns an iPhone, admitted she doesn't have memorized.

"I do not know my password," she said. "So anyway, someone would be pretty lucky if they got my phone. I do have the app -- but I don't know how to use it."

And that, is what police say crooks are counting on. The other draw? Making some fast cash.

"Turn it over into cash for hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes," said Major Estes.

Police say you should also save the original box your phone comes in so you can write down the serial number specific to your phone. That way if it's stolen, police have a quick, easy way to track it.

 

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