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Miami is top ranked city for lost cellphones

Would you rather get punched in the face by Justin Bieber than lose your phone? If you said yes, you're not alone; so would 45 percent of the people in a recent Norton survey.

The question is a cheap laugh by Norton's survey creators, but it's valid. Physical pain would be better than going through the headache and cost of getting back your main communication tool. (That's, of course, assuming Bieber could punch hard enough to cause physical pain.)

And Miami knows that pain the best, as more phones were misplaced in Miami than any other major U.S. city -- with New York and L.A. right behind. Nationwide, 77 percent of adults said they once lost a phone, and 23 percent have had one stolen.

But losing a phone that's not password-protected is downright debilitating. If my phone didn't have a password, someone could access my e-mail, bank account, personal photos, contacts, family addresses, Facebook account, Kindle account, AAA membership card - even wirelessly reprogram my home DVR.

In the Norton survey, respondents said it cost an average of $125.30 to resolve a missing phone, and a third said it took two to four days to sort everything out. And 87 percent said they had no way to remotely wipe out data from a lost phone.

Using a password is the most basic way to protect yourself, but you may consider investing in something more. Software is available to back up your data, protect against viruses and help you wipe out data remotely - but not all of it comes cheap.

So what to do? Read the rest of the Poked column for a few options you can weigh.

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