Tracking stolen smartphone is a bad idea, report it to the Police

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Location services could very useful to find lost devices, but do not do anything silly to find your stolen smartphone, it could be very risky.

People underestimate the risk related to the use of technology, a simple post on a social network or a harmless SMS could cause serious problems.

Today I desire to share we you a very sad story, Jeremy Cook, 18, from Brampton was killed in London after tracking his lost smartphone.

The youngster lost his cell phone in a cab so he decided to track it with a mobile app.  He localized the device but the persons who have found it killed him after an altercation. The authorities are still searching for three suspects in connection with the shooting.

Location services could very useful to find lost devices, but do not do anything silly if someone who found it does not want to return it.


The Police warn against tracking stolen and lost devices, urging people to avoid confronting thieves themselves.

“The end result of this whole scenario is definitely tragic. It’s very unfortunate, we never suggest anyone grabbing onto a moving vehicle, as that in-and-of-itself is very dangerous, but if there’s any concern whether it be of criminal nature, such as a stolen item or any concern for your safety we certainly encourage people to contact police,” said Const. Ken Steeves.

“I don’t think anybody would have been able to predict that the end result in this scenario would have been the case under the circumstances. But if anyone has any information in relation to where their lost items may be, certainly there’s nothing wrong with inquiring, but if there’s any suspicion or any indication that there’s trouble or anything like that we certainly encourage people to contact police.”

Global news that shared the news requested a comment the tech expert Carmi Levy, who confirmed the risks for tracking stolen smartphones.

“That’s the problem with these apps – they give us information that can put us into situations that can essentially be incredibly dangerous and in this case tragic,” Levy explained.

“If you think back to a few years ago before we had access to these apps, once we lost our phones or once it was stolen that was it. We moved on, or we bought a new one and replaced it. Now we have the ability to reach out and know exactly where it is.” 

Unfortunately, Smartphone theft is a profitable business, stolen devices could be used for criminal activities or simply resold in the criminal underground.

Another worrisome aspect related to the trade of stolen smartphone is that according to the Police it is dramatically increasing the number of violent cellphone thefts.

Another thing that you have to consider is that a stolen smartphone contains a huge quantity of sensitive information, and it could give hackers the opportunity to use it to bypass two-factor authentication process to access the victim’s online services that rely on a mobile device for 2FA.

Some location services also give the victims to remotely wipe data on the device, and I suggest you to use this feature, but after you are confident to have the latest backups.

“We seem to think our phones are our digital lives – we do everything on them,” he said. “But the truth of the matter is thanks to cloud services, all of your photos, all of your data, all of your information is already backed up online.” continues Levy.

The authorities also suggest adding stolen smartphone to the cellphone blacklist to prevent abuses. In Canada, the mobile carriers refuse connections from mobile devices with IMEIs that are included in the blacklist.