Mugging gangs are targeting smartphones this Christmas time - here's how to protect yourselves

Gardaí have advised all those going out on Christmas nights out to be vigilant.

MUGGINGS GANGS OPERATING across Ireland are targeting phone users this Christmas period as gardaí advise people on how best to avoid becoming a victim of crime. 

So-called ‘hugger muggers’ have been operational in Irish cities for the last number of years and gardaí expect the same groups to come into the country at a time when people typically let their guard down. 

Hugger muggers usually target people outside pubs and nightclubs and approach them for a hug. They, or a partner, then pickpocket the phone and walk away. They almost always target areas where there is a high chance that their intended victim has consumed alcohol and may be more in a more vulnerable position. 

Many people have also been targeted by criminals as they cross a street. Often, these muggers will cycle by someone, snatch the phone and then be able to make their getaway.

Gardaí have advised all those going out on Christmas nights out to be vigilant and not to fall for such tricks.

The Garda Síochána National Crime Prevention Unit advised people this year to take the following precautions this Christmas time.

  • Take careful note of your unique 15 Digit Mobile Phone IMEI number. (The IMEI number is located on the back of your phone underneath the battery, or you can locate it by dialling * # 06 # on your keypad). 
  • When out and about, keep your phone out of public view, be streetwise and always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Never leave your phone behind in an unattended vehicle.
  • Avoid making calls or texting on your phone while crossing the road.
  • If making or receiving a call in public, always do so with your back up against the wall or a shop window etc so that you can see around you and reduce the opportunity to be attacked from behind.
  • Download an application which tracks your phone location if lost.

Gardaí urged anyone who has had their phone stolen to contact them immediately.

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