Dumb Thief: How to Locate a Stolen iPhone

With 20+ million iPhones on the market there is a good chance you have one. According to San Francisco police, the 31-year-old city resident rode a bicycle up to a woman and snatched an iPhone out of her hands, and then pedaled away.

Problem was, the woman was carrying the phone as part of a company’s demonstration of a real-time GPS tracking program. If the bandit would have taken a peek at the screen, he would have seen himself traveling across a map of San Francisco.

Using the tracking software enabled on the iPhone, the victim was able to tell a 9-1-1 operator the exact location of the thief as he peddled through San Francisco, which the operator then relayed to police. Ten minutes later, he was in police custody.

This is either the greatest ever publicity stunt or most likely the dumbest and unluckiest thief ever!

The iPhone has gone through numerous upgrades in both hardware and software and still holds its value. Even the iPhone 3G is still commanding $150-200 on eBay, while the 3GS is going for as much as $400 and the iPhone 4G is a whopping $800.00! .  That being said it is suggested to protect this hardware as you would a laptop.

Apple has a service called Find My iPhone that will allow iPhone owners to remotely locate their lost or stolen iPhones using the iPhone’s GPS. The service is available as part of Apple’s MobileMe online subscription service.

Find My iPhone will:
-Locate your iPhone or iPad on a map
-Display a message and optionally play a sound for two minutes at full volume even if your device is set to silent
-Remotely set a passcode lock on your device (or lock it using your existing passcode)
-Remotely wipe your device to permanently erase all of your personal data

The app will automatically sign you out after 15 minutes of inactivity or you can manually sign out at any time. You must first set up your MobileMe account and turn on Find My iPhone on each device you want to locate (installing the app is not required).

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing iTunes Giftcard Scams on NBC Boston. Disclosures.