I’ve Lost My Cell Phone… What Do I Do?

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I’ve Lost My Cell Phone… What Do I Do?

The words, “I’ve lost my cell phone” are all too often a common phrase for many of us. If you have every reached into your pocket, purse, bag, or briefcase for your phone, only to discover it is not there, then you understand the sinking feeling that overcomes you when you realize you don’t know where your cell phone is. Maybe you set it down in the other room, left it at home or at the office, or it is still in your car. Most of the time, we find it in one of those places. Occasionally, we resort to the call the phone and see if we hear it ringing trick. But what do you do if you can’t find it, or if you know it has been stolen or lost.

Many smartphones offer tracking features. This usually involves using a computer, tablet or another smartphone to log-in to a website, enter your account information, and bring up the tracking feature. Using GPS, cell phone, and wireless information you can often find out where the phone is located, at least within 50 feet or so. Of course, for this to work, the phone has to have battery power and still be turned on.

This may not be your biggest concern, however. For many people, the smartphone has become a repository for all types of personal information. Your contacts, complete with names, addresses, phones numbers and birthdate, are in your phone. Your calendar, email, photographs. Some people keep lists of passwords or other accounts on their phone so there are convenient to access. Think about some of the apps that are on your phone. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking apps often have the login information stored, so that all you have to do is open the app, and now they are in control of your account. Retail store apps; pharmacy apps, banking apps. Dropbox, with complete access to all your stored files. The list goes on and on. The thought can be unnerving.

Our policy at Owens Investigations is that all smartphones and tablets must have a password enabled at all times, and we recommend you do the same. We also have our devices set to automatically erase after a specified number of failed access attempts. If a smartphone is erased you will LOSE the ability to track it remotely. However, we prefer the security of knowing our data and personal information will not fall into the wrong hands. The phone can be replaced. Once our privacy and security is lost it can be nearly impossible to recover.

So, what should you do when you determine your cell phone is lost or stolen? Here are our recommendations.

 1.   Activate the tracking feature of the phone.  – See if you can locate the missing device.

2. Use the remote erase feature.   –  If you do not believe you can retrieve the phone, use the remote erase feature of the phone to securely delete all data from the phone.

3. File a police report.   –  Include the serial number of the phone. It is unlikely that the phone will be recovered at this point. But you should have a documentable record that the phone is no longer in your possession.

4. Call your cell phone carrier.  – They can shut off any service to the phone, document that the device was stolen, and help facilitate replacing your phone.

I really hope this never happens to you. But if your cell phone is lost or stolen, the less time that your personal information is vulnerable to others the better! Act quickly.


Keith is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.



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