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How to Keep Your iPhone Safe

People are still buzzing about the iPhone 5. Searches on Yahoo! for Apple’s latest version of the smart phone are up 536 percent. When iPhone 5 debuted on September 21, eager consumers weren’t the only ones who couldn’t wait to get their hands on the smart phone. Thieves were also looking forward to its release.

iPhone thefts are on the rise and making headlines across the country. The crime is particularly prevalent in metropolitan areas where it makes up 30 to 40 percent of all robberies. In New York City alone, iPhone theft is up 40 percent over last year, while overall crime in the city only rose four percent. The NYPD is urging owners to register their serial numbers in the event their devices are stolen.

Cops urge users to stay vigilant when using your smart phone in public places, such as mass transit, restaurants, and walking on the street.
Here are some tips for keeping your iPhone safe: Apps, such as "Find My iPhone," can help locate a missing device using the phone’s GPS and allow you to remotely lock it and wipe your personal data.

Gadget Trak can even snap photos of the thief using the phone’s camera. Police in Brooklyn were able to find and arrest an alleged iPhone thief in less than an hour last month by using "Find My iPhone."

Of course, sometimes, it’s our own clumsiness that can be the biggest danger to our smart phones -- Americans have spent $5.9 billion to repair damaged iPhones since 2007.

While you’re probably not dunking your iPhone like pro basketball player Iman Shumpert, it’s not unlikely your phone will have an accident. With a starting cost of $649, replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged phone can be a hefty expense.
You have 30 days from the purchase of your iPhone to apply for Apple Care. It covers up to two incidents of spills, shattered screens, and other unforeseen damage, but it won’t cover loss. The plan costs $99 for two years, and there’s a $49 fee per claim. Insurance plans through wireless carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, cover both theft and damage for two years. AT&T’s plan runs $6.99 per month, while Verizon’s version is $9.99 a month. Both charge pricey deductibles of $199 when filing a claim.

Of course, the simplest and most cost effective way to guard your phone is to protect it with a case. Otterbox, Belkin and Case-Mate all offer options that keep your phone safe from drops, scratches and spills for $20-$50.

And we want to hear from you. What’s the worse accident your smart phone has had? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #finfit.