Today, we are so much dependent on our smartphones that spending even a day without them cripples our life. Carrying huge amount of personal data ranging from photos, videos, contacts, emails to even credit/debit card credentials, the thought of losing your phone is nothing less than a nightmare.
Lots of blog posts and articles give you advice on what to do to prevent your phone from being stolen. That’s all great information unless you’re already facing the problem of a stolen phone. You need to act quickly to protect your data from any unauthorized access and misuse. Instead of panicking, here are some of the steps that you should take once you figure that that you’ve been bereaved of your smartphone.
1. Track Your Smartphone
Hopefully, you have a tracking app installed on your smartphone. Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager are both helpful tools for locating your smartphone. If you’re on Android Oreo, then there is also an option in the settings menu that lets you turn on – Find my device & remote lock/erase! You may have left your phone at your workplace or a bar or even at a friend’s house. It could even have fallen between the couch cushions. Therefore, your first move, unless you actually saw someone steal your phone, is to track it.
Tracking your phone to an unknown location is unnerving, but take one more step, just in case: call it! Someone may have recognized a lost phone and is searching for a way to return it to its owner. If nobody answers, go ahead and assume it’s stolen, and take the right precautions.
2. Remotely Lock/Wipe Your Device
The tracking apps you have installed on your phone probably allow you to remotely lock and wipe the device. Find My iPhone, for example, lets you do either of these things once you log into your iCloud account. If you’re not entirely sure the device has been stolen, lock the device so nobody can get into it. If you are sure the phone has been stolen, wipe it right now. Losing some of your data, however valuable, is better than a thief having unauthorized access leading to possible misuse.
3. Verify Your IMEI
Your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15 digit number that is specific to your device. When you get a new phone, your carrier verifies that the IMEI is not on any lists of stolen devices. A smartphone with a stolen IMEI won’t work on most networks, even with a new SIM card.
Verify your device’s IMEI with your carrier, such as T-Mobile, as soon as you get it. It’s also printed on a piece of white rectangular strip on the backside of your brand new smartphone. Another way to know your IMEI number that probably works with all the carriers is to dial this code – *#06#.
If your phone is ever stolen, give your IMEI to the police. Your carrier will already know the code and will list the IMEI with other stolen devices. That way, a thief won’t be able to use your phone as a new device or sell it to someone else and expect it to work.
4. Report the Theft
You need to tell two organizations about your stolen smartphone: your service provider and the police. When you tell your service provider, you avoid unauthorized expenses and data charges. The provider will put a hold on your account that prevents any activity being charged to you. Each provider also has information on how you can get a new phone if there’s no way you’ll be able to recover the stolen one.
Tell the police, too. If you have a tracking app and have already located the phone, you should not go get it by yourself. Instead, get police help. They can use the tracking apps you have installed to locate and pick up your phone. Even if the police aren’t very helpful, you’ve filed an official report and now have an open case with your police department.
5. Remove Your Credit and Debit Cards
Many people have credit or debit cards connected to Apple Pay or Android Pay. Though your Apple Pay is hard to hack, because you need a fingerprint to use it, you’ll still feel better removing this information. Even if your phone is password protected, you don’t want the thief to have any access to your money.
Borrow someone else’s phone or get on your computer as soon as possible to disconnect all your credit cards and accounts from your smartphone payment app. You’ll just have to get on iCloud or Android Pay to remove the cards.
Even if you can’t track or remotely wipe your phone, you can remove your credit card data, pull all your information out of the cloud, and report the device stolen. Do not delay when taking these actions, because quick action can help you protect your data and maybe even recover your device.
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I hope the post was useful. If you were delighted reading this post, please feel free to share the knowledge among your friends and family. Also, if in case you’ve gone through this misfortune, please share with us the steps you took to trace or possibly recover your mobile device.