The mobile phone is as much a necessity in society today, as one’s house keys. Unfortunately, mobile phones are just as prone to getting lost. In 2014, 5.2 million smartphones were lost in America – 2.1 million of these were reported stolen. this is more than the entire population of Norway!
With so much dependent on our mobiles – from the trivial like music streaming, to the vital storage of bank details – losing our mobile phones can be nothing short of catastrophic. There is even a diagnosed medical condition: Nomophobia; which is the fear of having no phone. As incredible as this sounds, many people care deeply affected by the loss of their mobiles. So, how do we avoid losing our mobile phones? And what do we do if this happens?
Avoid losing your phone
The first thing to consider when preventing the loss of a mobile phone, is daily habits. Being mindful of what you do with your phone and where you leave it, is a good starting point in discovering what habits you need to change to make your mobile safe. Adopting simple, consistent habits, like leaving your phone in a set place in the house, and keeping your mobile in your pocket or bag when out, and don’t leave it out unattended in public. Of course, always remember to check your pockets when you are out, as mobile can easily slip out of them while on the move.
Also, ensure your mobile has a secure lock screen. If you have lost your phone, you can at least rest assured that any info in it will be secure. If you can, ensure your lock screen includes “if found” or “In case of emergency” details, in the event of the mobile being found and handed to the police. If you are unable to do this in the lock screen, tape a small message on the back of the mobile with details for returning it.
Another good idea, is to backup any photos and videos on the mobile. Most phone carriers and makers will offer a free over-the-air backup for phone camera contents and settings. It is simple and quick to do and it means anything of sentimental value isn’t lost forever with the mobile phone.
Finally, as an added precaution, take a note of your mobile’s unique ID number. All smartphones have an individual serial number, called an International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) or a Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID). These are etched into the actual circuits of the mobile phone and are difficult to change. This number will be on file with the network carrier, and can be used by police in the event of the mobile being lost or stolen.
What to do if your mobile is gone
It is important to act quickly.
Once you have established that the mobile is not simply “misplaced,” you must take action to report the phone missing. The sooner you do so, the more likely are your chances of getting the phone back.
First thing to do , is access the nearest secure computer, and change the passwords of every account you had access to on your phone. Band and shopping accounts with the credit and debit card details on file are the priority and then email and social networks. Contact the bank to alert them of possible fraudulent activity from your lost mobile. The sooner they are made aware of the situation, the easier it will be to discover and prevent unauthorised account activities.
Inform the police immediately. This will start an official recovery investigation. It is advisable to get a copy of the police report in case there is a need for it in disputing any fraudulent activities on credit or debit cards.
Finally, the majority of smartphones have a phone-finding system to help find it’s location. Access this remotely from a secure computer, and wipe the mobile clean of it’s data. Even if you eventually recover the mobile, it is a good idea to erase its data anyway, in case any spyware or other malicious software has been put on it.
It will be inconvenient to be back at square one with your mobile, but it will save a lot of worry and further issues in the long term.
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