Mobile phones are an incredibly important part of our lives. As well as making calls, we use them to surf the web, shop online, take photographs, post on social media and even pay for goods in store. Losing your smartphone is distressing.
A stolen phone is even worse. Not only do you have to deal with the emotional upset, but you have to act quickly to protect yourself. This handy checklist will help you.
Contact the police
As with any crime, you need to report the theft to the police as soon as possible. It may take them hours (or even days) to begin investigation, but you need to ensure the crime is logged and you obtain a reference number (you will need this if you plan to make an insurance claim).
Change your password
If the thief can log into your phone, they can also access all the information stored on it. They can also access anything you have stored in the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive etc). You need to log into the cloud storage website and change your password. This will immediately prevent your stolen phone – and the thief – from connecting.
Wipe your device
While logged into your online account, you should use the tools provided to lock your device remotely. This will erase all content from your smartphone and lock the thief out – permanently. Remote wipe needs to be set-up in advance – if your phone doesn’t offer the option, you can use Panda Antivirus for Android which not only protects against malware, but also offers remote wipe functions.
Contact your bank
If you have a digital wallet set up on your phone (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay etc) you will need to contact your bank. They can put a stop on your device to prevent the thief from using your phone to make illegal purchases.
Contact your mobile network
Next, call your mobile network operator to report the loss. They can block your device from the network – and they will also ensure you are not charged for any calls made by the thief using your stolen smartphone.
Contact your insurance company
Once you are sure your personal information and payment info is protected, you can give your insurance company a call (if you have a policy). Among the (many) details they will ask for is a crime reference number which proves that the theft has been reported to the police. The insurer will then arrange a replacement handset or a payment towards a new one.
It is vital that you act as soon as you realise your device has been stolen to limit any potential damage and disruption caused by the thief. Each step may take some time, but you can always change passwords and wipe your devices while on hold to the police or your bank.
Hopefully you never need to use this checklist – but if your phone is stolen, these steps will help contain the damage.