“Thefties” Snap Shots Of Smartphone Thieves In The Act

“Thefties” Snap Shots Of Smartphone Thieves In The Act

Lookout's new program uses a phone's front-facing camera to capture suspicious activity as it happens.

Marnie Kunz
  • 5 june 2014

Phone thieves, beware! Mobile security company Lookout has launched a new program to cut down on the phone theft epidemic by taking front-facing photos of anyone doing “suspicious activity” on a smartphone. Triggers for the thefts include trying to enter a wrong password repeatedly or trying to remove a phone’s security software. When any sneaky activity occurs, Lookout subscribers get email alerts, complete with photos of the person triggering the alert and a map of the person’s location.

Thefties aim to stop phone thieves in their tracks by giving the cell phone owner information that can identify the person if they know the culprit, or allowing them to give tracking information to the police so they can apprehend the suspect. Each email alert gives users the option to contact their phone carrier about the security breach and also allows them to file a police report if they want to. Subscribers can also personalize the alert system so that only certain features trigger an alert email.


Phone thefts continue to rise rapidly, with 3.1 million smartphones stolen in America in 2013, according to Consumer Reports. Smart phone users have been taking more measures to combat thefts, with about a 50 percent increase in the number of smartphone users who set a screen lock with a 4-digit pin in 2013, according to Consumer Reports. However, most users do not take any measures beyond setting a PIN, and software like Thefties could provide more security for smartphone users. According to Lookout’s Phone Theft in America report, 1 in 10 U.S. smartphone owners are victims of phone theft and 68 percent of victims were unable to recover their device after the theft occurred.

Thefties is available to help combat the phone theft problem, and can be used on Android and iOS devices. On Android phones, the Thefties system triggers alerts when a failed password attempt happens a certain number of times, someone puts the phone in airplane mode, turns off the phone or removes the phone’s SIM card. The Apple alert system is less comprehensive because of limitations Lookout developers met with in working with iOS software. Thefties iOS alerts occur with failed password attempts, putting the phone in airplane mode or removing the SIM card.

The Thefties program is currently part of Lookout’s premium subscriber program, but existing Lookout users will get grandfathered into the system.

this is an image


[h/t] CNET, Slate, Consumer Reports


Crash-Friendly Drone Made From LEGOs Is Completely Rebuildable

Culture Today

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Today

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Today

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Dong-Ping Wong

Filtering Pool in Hudson

Syndicated Today

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Today

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Today

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 28, 2016

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs Yesterday

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Today

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Today

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Today

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Today

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Today

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Today

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Today

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.