CBAR-Newsflash October/November 2020
Dear Valued CBAR Clients,
The most recent survey from Statistics South Africa show that almost 70% of property related theft was that of mobile phones. Considering that this survey was conducted almost 2 years ago and all that has transpired since on an economic level with a further 2.2 million people being unemployed since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the level of theft of mobile phones has itself reached epidemic proportions.
Mobile phones, especially the range of smart phones from Apple, Samsung and the likes that are carried and used by many subscribers, may cost between R15k to R30k for top of the range devices. Besides the obvious uses, these devices also carry our most personal and confidential information on them. Banking apps, apps that allow access to personal information in the form of messages, social media, emails, apps that control our security, and all our contact numbers.
With all of this in mind, it is still staggering to see how many people walk and talk whilst out and about without paying any thought to their immediate surroundings or who may be setting them up to become another mobile theft victim.
People sit in restaurants in public spaces with their phones on the table or sit with their backs to the street with pedestrian traffic walking right past them. Waiting for an Uber on the sidewalk with their mobile phone in hand or talking on the phone, especially whilst stationary at a traffic light or stop street. Walking and texting is also a favourite pastime by many mobile device users. There are so many incidents captured on CCTV and posted on social media involving the theft or in other instances, the armed robbery of these devices.
Syndicates specialize in the theft of these devices whether they target shoppers in malls, smash and grab them out of motor vehicles or simply pick pocket them out of handbags or pockets. It is a hugely profitable business that puts a lot of cash in criminal pockets.
Phones that cost up to R30k may only fetch up to R1k at the dealers who knowingly buy these stolen phones, but a few of these a day really makes it lucrative for criminals. Alternatively, they are also sold over the internet. Theft of mobile phones is a thriving business, as there is such a huge supply made available by the public all day, every day. Continued poverty will push these criminals to continue to steal mobile phones, due to the demand for high end phones that can be sold off for a fraction of the purchase price.
A bigger concern is the fact that besides the device itself, there is all the personal information that is stored on the device. Many mobile phone users use their device to do online banking as an example.
Criminals are accessing apps on unlocked phones that are snatched and those that are more technically apt with the correct software, may obtain the user name and password, which may be stored in the cloud.
There are apps that can track and wipe devices if they are lost or stolen from Apple (Find my iPhone) in the cloud, and Google’s (Find my Phone), which can track and lock the screen remotely.
People generally panic when their mobile phone has been stolen and criminals often capitalize on this. A phishing of the victim may occur when an email or SMS could be sent to the victim, informing them that their device has been recovered and that they should click on a provided link which would require their credentials. If this is with an iPhone, by clicking on the link provided by the criminals, the entire iCloud account will be compromised, allowing the phone to be re-used.
Do not click on any links requiring your iCloud account, no matter how convincing the email message.
Criminals are also able to change the IMEI number (the 15-digit serial number encoded in the phone) of the stolen mobile devices, which renders the device almost impossible to trace and allows for resale of the device as a whole instead of dismantling it as before.
Measures should be put in place to safeguard all your personal information and a backup should be made of all contact numbers, photos, emails etc., for just in case your phone is stolen or lost.
Hopefully the above will encourage you to take greater care of your mobile device and not put yourself in a situation that may create an opportunity to fall victim to criminals looking for an easy target.
Over the past 9 days, CBAR officers have found 37 instances where sliding gates and garage doors are standing open, whilst on patrol. The homeowners are either not at home or at home and completely unaware that their gates or garage doors are wide open.
With the increase of criminal foot traffic in the area, the utmost care should be taken to ensure that all gates / garage doors are locked before driving off or at night before retiring.
It will be a given that your bicycle and other valuable items will be taken if access is given to criminals to just walk in to an open garage and help themselves.
It is vital that CBAR officers get access to at least the perimeter of your property just in case of a medical emergency or where we have received multiple alarm or panic signals. Key holders are not always contactable or available to respond to the premises.
There are various methods of access control depending on each properties gate / garage access. Please contact our technical department on 0860 151515 or firstname.lastname@example.org for advice and assistance in this regard.
October month generally signals the beginning of summer in Cape Town with a good dose of the Cape Doctor (gale force SE winds). All the vegetation that has grown near your outdoor sensors may need to be trimmed as we have noticed a spike in outdoor sensors that are falsely activating on recent windy days.
Please trim all excess foliage before summer sets in so as to reduce unnecessary false alarms. This causes response units to keep attending to the premises where outdoor sensors continue to activate and slows down response times to genuine alarm activations. Criminals are aware that alarms activate more on windy days and try and take advantage of this.
It may also be a faulty sensor; in which case our Technical department would be happy to assist.
VISIT our web-site on www.cbar.co.za for all our stats.
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Alan Kusevitsky and the CBAR Team