What to Do If Your Phone Gets Stolen: The Ultimate Checklist
Getting your phone stolen can be very stressful, as you have a lot of personal information stored on it. You certainly don’t want anyone to gain access to your photos and messages. What’s even more upsetting is someone being able to see your sensitive information, such as your usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
If you don’t log out of all your accounts on your phone, a thief could easily steal your identity. Needless to say, this could wreak havoc in your life.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take immediately if your phone gets stolen. They can help you minimize the trouble, and perhaps even retrieve your phone, so check out what they are.
1. Call Your Phone
This is the first obvious step you should take. It’s also what you’ll probably do on impulse. Perhaps a good Samaritan has found your phone and they want to get it back to you. So, call your number and wait to see if anyone will answer.
If your phone is with a thief who isn’t planning to give it back to you, this won’t do you any good. But, don’t worry, because that’s where the following steps come into play.
2. Use a “Find My Phone” Service
“Find My Phone” services are some of the best tools you can use to instantly locate your phone. Whether you use Android or iOS, you can find your phone in an instant.
If you have an Android phone, use Google’s Find My Device service. Simply log into your Google account and type “find my phone” into a search engine. Google will immediately locate it.
If you have an iPhone, use Apple’s Find My iPhone tool. You’ll need to log into your iCloud to locate your smartphone.
Whichever service you use, you can remotely lock your phone and make it ring, even if it’s in silent mode. You can also display a custom message on the lock screen so that a good Samaritan could reach you.
Furthermore, you can wipe your phone if these steps don’t bear fruit so that the thief cannot access your data. However, if you choose to do this, you can’t locate your phone anymore.
3. Change Your Passwords
Wiping your phone should be your last resort because there’s still hope that you’ll get it back. But, before you do, you should change your passwords to be sure the thief cannot access your sensitive data.
This is especially important if you don’t have a password or PIN for your lock screen. It’s even more important if you don’t log out of your accounts. So, immediately change passwords for all the accounts you access on your phone, especially your banking accounts.
4. Report the Theft to Your Mobile Carrier
Once you’ve taken all the steps mentioned above, it’s time to get in touch with your mobile carrier. They will disable your service so that you don’t continue paying for something you no longer use.
Time is of the essence here, because the thief may make some unauthorized, expensive phone calls. Reporting your stolen phone right away will save you from such stressful incidents.
If you do manage to eventually find your phone, your mobile carrier will easily reactivate your account.
5. Contact the Police
Alerting the police can additionally help you find your stolen phone. This is because they have experts who deal with this kind of problems all the time. Be sure to get your phone’s IMEI – your phone’s ID – from your mobile carrier first. It will help the police locate your phone.
The Best Cyber Security Precaution: A VPN for Your Phone
Getting the best VPN for your phone is the smartest thing you can do for your data security. A VPN will encrypt your internet connection, making you invisible online. It will replace your IP address with a fake one, hiding your online activity even from your ISP. This means no potential hackers could ever gain access to your data, or any sensitive information.
A VPN won’t help you find your phone if it gets stolen. However, you can have some peace of mind when it comes to cybersecurity while you’re using your phone. Downloading the best VPN for your phone will protect your data from potential hackers, especially if you use public WiFi. Public wireless hotspots aren’t encrypted, so hackers could get your usernames and passwords.
Therefore, get the best VPN for your phone to keep your data safe and secure. But, if someone happens to steal your phone, be sure to follow all the tips mentioned above. They’ll either help you retrieve it, or minimize the damage.