The exploding popularity of smartphones that command high prices on the black market is making them targets of thieves on Chicago public transit, says the Chicago Tribune. This week, a fleeing phone robber knocked a 68-year-old woman down the “L” train steps, killing her.
Smartphones can be an easy and lucrative target for thieves, as commuters are often distracted by listening to music or checking email or the Web. Some smartphones with a contract that sell for less than $100 in stores can be sold on the street for $200 because they’re activated. Investigators are able to track and arrest criminals by tracing calls made with a stolen phone or using a phone’s GPS to locate the device. Undercover officers riding city trains and buses look for thieves trying to steal smartphones. Users should enable features that allow all data on a stolen or lost phone to be deleted remotely, said Nikki Junker, social media coordinator and victim adviser at the Identity Theft Resource Center.