In the first of our series of ‘what do you do when…’ we are focusing on: lost or stolen mobile phones.
We had a few of our own ideas, but we decided to have a google and see what other trusted people said too. We endorse all of the advice from Citizens’ Advice, which you can find here.
So we’ve included most of their advice in our step by step guide, but we have also added some extra steps.
1. Don’t panic. Chances are it will turn up, but if you know it’s stolen, then you need to move quickly with the rest of the steps.
2. If you think it is lost rather than stolen and you have an android phone, see if you can find it using the https://www.google.com/android/find/ link which you can paste into a browser on your computer or another device. If you use a friend’s device you will need to be logged in to your google account, so make sure you know the password.
3. Again if you think it’s lost rather than stolen and you don’t have a google account but have a Samsung device, see if you can find it using this link: https://smartthingsfind.samsung.com/
4. If you have an apple phone use this link appleid.apple.com and look at the devices page
5. If you decide it’s stolen rather than lost at home, or left in a shop where you can call and go and collect it (which you can hopefully see with one of the above steps) then follow the next steps as quickly as possible.
6. Call your provider (the person you pay a bill to or top up with) to cancel your sim card and get a new one sent out. If they have a high street presence you can pop in to one of their shops. This is important to stop a huge bill in case someone decides to call their great aunt in Australia or Nigeria (or anywhere else that isn’t included in your minutes!).
7. Using the links above in steps 2, 3 or 4, you might be able to wipe the data from the phone, depending on how you are set up. Why should you do this? It’s unlikely the person wants your data, they probably want your phone to sell. BUT if they do want your data, they can use your email to reset passwords and log into other websites.
8. If you can’t wipe your phone, reset your email passwords. To do this log into your email accounts online. Most email accounts have a way of getting in online as well as on your desktop or via an app. So reset those passwords asap. Some of them may require 2 Factor Authentication which might be tricky if your phone is lost or stolen but do try. If you can’t do it immediately, get the new sim card from your provider (point 6) and borrow a phone just to do this step.
9. If stolen, report to the police on 101. If you know your IMEI (on the box when you bought it or if you bought from the same place as your sim, they should have it) they will ask for that too. You’ll need a crime reference if you are going to claim on your insurance.
To make your life easier if your phone ever does get stolen:
a) Ensure your phone is registered here: https://www.immobilise.com/
b) always make sure you have emergency contacts filled in on your phone. If you do and someone finds your phone, they can call those contacts, as long as there is battery life, by clicking the emergency call button on the lock screen, hopefully meaning that you can be reunited with your phone via your emergency contacts very quickly.