How to Protect Your Mobile Device in a Flash Mob Scenario

How to Protect Your Mobile Device in a Flash Mob Scenario
By Stephen Ebbett

Among its other benefits, mobile technology is a great way for people to coordinate activities. It has been instrumental in events as diverse as successful political movements and seemingly impromptu orchestra concerts in public squares. But like most tools, mobile technology can be used for positive as well as negative purposes. The so-called “flash mob” phenomenon is an example of the latter; it is a scenario in which groups organize online to commit robberies.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation earlier this year to create tougher sentencing for people convicted of using social media tools to organize flash mob robberies after a string of violent incidents in the Chicago area. The crime waved threatened public safety as well as business interests. Residents, tourists and others using public transportation have been victimized by flash mob robbers in Chicago and elsewhere, with mobile devices like iPads targeted by thieves.

Mobile device theft is a growing problem, both in the context of traditional robberies and flash mob violence. The FCC reports that up to 40% of robberies in major U.S. cities involve the theft of mobile phones. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your devices:

1. Use your mobile device discreetly in public: You wouldn’t take out a wallet containing $700 and count the money in public. A smartphone or tablet device can cost $700 or more, making it a tempting target for thieves. Keeping smartphones and tablets out of sight is a good idea that can help deter theft.

2. Install a tracking app: Almost all smartphones, including iPhones and Androids, offer free tracking apps. If you have a tracking app installed, it can help police locate the device in real time and increase your chances of recovering it—and catching the thieves—if your device is stolen.

3. Make sure you use a strong password: Many people use smartphones and tablets for banking, online shopping and other activities that involve sensitive information. If you lose your device during a flash mob incident—or any other type of theft—a strong password can protect your confidential data.

A robbery of any type is a traumatic experience, and flash mob theft can be particularly overwhelming and frightening. The top priority in such an incident is to protect your physical safety. However, by taking a few common sense precautions, you can also reduce the chance that your device will be targeted, improve your odds of recovering it if it is stolen, and protect your confidential information.

Stephen Ebbett is President of Protect Your Bubble, a new kind of insurance brand that understands that 21st century lives are busy and complicated and offers an online service to make insurance simple and uncomplicated. The company offers a range of insurance products, such as gadget insurance, that have been specifically tailored to offer protection in a fast changing, modern world, so that customers are prepared if the unexpected happens, with the coverage and support they need in place and immediately available. Visit for more information.

Photo Credit: liewcf via Photo Pin | Creative Commons