Losing your phone is a terrible ordeal, as it means you’ll have to invest in a new phone and restore all of your data. However, the problem is far worse if your phone is stolen. Thieves can hack into your phone to steal your passwords, contacts, and personal information. They might be able to take money from your bank accounts, swindle your friends, or even steal your identity. However, there are plenty of things you can do to try and recover your phone before any damage is done. Take these steps as soon as you lose your phone.
Take Preventative Measures Beforehand
Before your phone is stolen, make sure you’ve done everything possible to prevent the thief from gaining access. Use a screen lock that’s hard to crack. If you’re using a pin, make sure it’s a unique number and not simply 1111. Best of all, enable fingerprint login if your phone is capable of it.
You can also encrypt any sensitive data on your phone so that even if the thief is able to log in, they won’t be able to decode anything. Finally, use a SIM card lock, which will prevent them from taking out the SIM card and putting it into another phone to bypass the lock screen.
Use a Phone Finding App
There are several apps available for both Android and iPhone to help you locate a lost phone. Both operating systems also have native features to help you track down your phone. On Androids, this is Google Find My Device. To use Find My Device, all you have to do is search “where is my phone” on Google, and your browser will display the current location. The only stipulation for this is that you need to connect your Google account to your phone.
On an iPhone, you can use the Find My iPhone feature. To access your phone’s current location, log into your iCloud account, click on the Find My iPhone option, and you’ll see a map of its current position.
Because seasoned thieves know this will be the first thing you’ll do, their first step will be to take out the SIM card and disable location services, so it’s imperative that you act fast.
Report Your Phone as Stolen
If trying to track your phone down isn’t working, report it stolen as soon as possible. This way, authorities can alert local pawn shops and electronic stores to be on the lookout. In order to prove it’s your phone, you’ll need to confirm your International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which is a unique identifier given to every mobile device. Because it’s etched into the circuitry of your phone, it’s virtually impossible for thieves to alter or erase this number.
Unless you were planning for your phone to be stolen, you probably don’t have this number on hand. Luckily, T-Mobile can help you verify your IMEI if you have their services. Once you’ve gotten in touch with T-Mobile, they’ll block your stolen phone from their network so the thief can’t use it. Without the nation’s fastest growing 4G LTE network, the phone will be practically useless.
Change Passwords and Inform Your Bank
Instead of selling your phone, a thief might try to use it to hack your private information. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to change your passwords right away. Make a list of all the apps you had on your phone, as well as any websites you visited, and methodically go through each one so that you don’t have any vulnerable accounts.
Just in case you weren’t quick enough to stop the thief from getting your bank or credit card info, be sure to alert these companies right away. This way, they won’t try to argue with you if you notice a fraudulent charge. This might even help in tracking the thief if they can pinpoint where the charges were made.
Having your phone stolen can be a huge headache. However, by taking the following precautions immediately after it happens, you can minimize the damage and hopefully get your valuable device back.