Half of Americans Would Pay $500 To Get Back a Stolen Smartphone

May 07, 2014 05:31 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

What would you be willing to do to get a stolen smartphone back?

A new survey says that 68 percent of Americans would put themselves in some element of danger to retrieve a stolen device, The Wire reported.

Besides risking their own safety, people are willing to shell out serious money for stolen phones, which often hold precious data including photos, videos, apps as well as sensitive information like email and bank credentials.

In the new Lookout report, half of the people surveyed said they would be somewhat to extremely likely to pay $500 for their phone's stolen information. Even more surprising, around 33 percent said they were somewhat to extremely likely to give as much as $1,000 for the device and its data.

Smartphone theft has been rising, with 3.1 million Americans victimized in 2013, almost twice as many as reported the previous year, The Wire reported.

According to Lookout's Phone Theft in America report, which was conducted by IDG Research, an average of one in 10 phone owners in the U.S. have had a device stolen. Of those victimized, 68 percent couldn't retrieve the stolen phone.

"The reality is that whether your smartphone is white, black, or gold, it is now almost 30 times more valuable per ounce than a block of solid silver--and almost as easy to convert discreetly into cash," said the Lookout report.

Besides looking at what lengths people would go to in order to get their phones back, the survey analyzed the high-risk times of day when phones are more likely to be stolen. The time between noon and 5 p.m. is when phone thefts peak at 40 percent, while 6-9 p.m. follows with 29 percent.

The sooner you realize your phone is stolen, the better. Just a quarter of phone thefts are noticed within the hour, making it even more difficult to track down the thief.

Lawmakers and regulators have been working to implement "kill switch" technology into phones so stolen devices can be wiped remotely. Despite the privacy compromise, only 13 percent of phone owners who were victimized wipe the stolen data.

Apple, Samsung and Verizon are among the major companies who have agreed to put kill switch functionality into their smartphones starting next year. 

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