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What do you do if your device is lost or stolen?
Having a mobile device has become one of life’s essentials and when a loss or theft occurs it can be a sickening feeling, and often one that can be pretty stressful.
At some time you’ve probably had that heart-stopping moment of realizing that your device is missing. Have you simply left it behind somewhere never to be seen again or have you been the victim of a theft? It can be a challenging time, however it’s important to remain calm and take some essential steps to keep your personal information and digital life safe from being abused.
Inform the right people
Let the authorities immediately know that your mobile device has been stolen. File a report with the police—this is helpful for insurance purposes but it can also increase the chances of recovering your phone. Let your mobile service provider know as soon as you can too so as to limit any unwanted charges and calls you have not made.
Now is also the right time to contact your insurance company and get started on securing a replacement device. Remember that any smartphone, tablet or laptop can be a doorway into your life so it’s always a good idea letting your employer, family, and friends know about a loss or theft.
Use tracking features
One of the best things you can do is to use your devices tracking feature. Whether you set up this feature depends on which device you own. For example, the iPhone requires you to set up the Track My Phone feature, while Android’s Device Manager allows you to track your device without having to configure first. Tracking services use a GPS signal to show the area your device is located on a map. This is vital information to give the police.
Prevent access to personal information
One of the most important steps you should take is to prevent any unscrupulous person from accessing your personal information. Visit the websites of the apps you use to see if you can log out and otherwise de-register.
Change your passwords across social networks, email and sites that may contain personal information and think about other things like online banking. Perhaps it’s a good idea to contact your bank to change your access codes to avoid the risk of further financial consequences.
Deactivate your device
Deactivating your device means you won’t be able to track it, however this functions is a last resort if recovering your phone isn’t possible. When you deactivate, it completely prevents a thief from obtaining your personal information and making charges on your accounts.
It also prevents your device from being reset and adding a new SIM card. While you will no longer be able to communicate with your device, it’s a good option to ensure you’re data is protected while you wait for a replacement.
What else can you do?
Confronting a thief your self is not recommended. However, it’s important you take steps to be sure your device isn’t stolen in the first place:
- Never, ever leave your device unattended, whether on a restaurant or bar table or shop counter. Your device is an investment, so why leave it within reach of thieves? Most mobile device thefts are “crimes of opportunity” so cut off any chance of someone swiping it while your back is turned.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your device out of sight when in less-than-ideal environments, and if you must use it, do so with both hands. Treat the device the way you treat your wallet—you wouldn’t go waving your wallet around, would you?
- You should always set a passcode to keep personal data protected. Your device is likely full of lots of juicy information for anyone to have a nose at so be sure to set a unique passcode
Unfortunately, as long as the mobile device black market exists, your phone, tablet, or any digital device is a target. Be smart about where you use it, take steps to keep it as secure as possible, and stay informed about the latest security tips.
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