by: Aimee O’Driscoll
A stolen phone can leave you feeling helpless and scrambling. We explain the best course of action to take and what you can do to prepare for these types of situations.
Most of us have felt it at some time or another: that sinking feeling when you can’t find your phone anywhere and realize you’ve lost it, or worse, that someone has stolen it. Mobile phones and the data they hold are very valuable to thieves. And for similar reasons — they hold so much important personal information of real and sentimental value — a theft can be a huge loss for the owner.
The moment you realize you’re detached from your device, your thoughts will no doubt start racing. Where is it? Will I ever get it back? Will a thief be able to access its contents, including photos, videos, messages, and personal information? Unfortunately, the chances of actually getting a stolen phone back are slim. However, if you take the right steps before and after your phone is stolen, you can increase the chance of recovery and limit the damage.
In this post, we explain what to do if your phone is stolen and provide best practices for securing a new or existing phone.
Steps to take when your phone is stolen
Here’s what to do when the unthinkable happens and you realize your phone is gone. Some of these steps will depend on what you have done in preparation, just in case you lose your phone or have it stolen (more details on that later).
Check that it isn’t just lost
Someone swiped your phone. Or did they? Although you’re normally super careful about always keeping your phone in the same spot, there’s a chance you might have left it somewhere while in a rush.
Try calling it first and hopefully you’ll hear it ringing or vibrating. The next best case is that someone picks it up and engages in conversation. For example, if you left it at a café and a good Samaritan retrieved it, you can arrange to get it back from them.
No answer when you call? Try using a phone finder app such as Find My iPhone, Google Find My Device, or Samsung Find My Mobile. T-Mobile’s finder app, Lookout Mobile, even lets you sound an alarm if your device is nearby.