Prey Inc. announced the results of the inaugural Prey Mobile Theft & Loss Report, which found that misplaced devices were responsible for the vast majority – 69 percent – of all devices reported missing in 2018. Ultimately, the Prey survey determined that mobile device owners are a greater threat to their devices than are thieves and that, when if comes to device theft, the most comfortable and familiar places, such as offices, homes or schools, can be the least safe.

Drilling down into the data, Prey sorted all theft or loss stories into six categories: Misplaced (69.12%), Pickpocket (10.98%), Home Invasion (7.60%), Armed Robbery (6.76%), Car Break-in (2.77%), and Business Break-In (2.77%). While home invasion, business break-in and car break-in were excluded due to the certainty of their location, the report then breaks down the most likely locations for misplaced, pick-pocketed or robbed devices. with:

  • Misplaced: home (28.10%), street (15.88%), office (13.09%), public transport (11.87%)
  • Pickpocket: public transport (28.57%), street (19.78%), office (17.58%), school (12.09%)
  • Robbery: street (26.79%), home (25%) public transport (8.93%), office (8.93%)

Prey determined that the top five places where people are most likely to lose their devices -- home, street, office, public transport, school and university -- represent a combined 80.94% of all reported events. The report notes that “these five locations are places which users frequent as part of their daily routines” and goes on to concluded that “the majority of lost device events occur in places where the user is generally comfortable and does not expect insecurity.”

The report concludes: “If your phone falls into the wrong hands and doesn’t have the proper protection, the thief can get more than a resell profit. The information that on open smartphone provides is enough for a bad actor to carry out identity theft, especially when the phone line continues to be open. When that is the case, thieves can even utilize a stolen phone’s line to reset passwords on high-risk logins, such as your email.”