What to do when you lose your phone

Losing your mobile phone can cost you thousands of dollars

Losing your mobile phone can cost you thousands of dollars and pose a serious security risk. This handy guide will tell you what to do to protect your data should your phone disappear to minimise the damage and, hopefully, get it back


International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number
Every mobile phone has a unique identification number known as the IMEI number. If your mobile phone is lost or stolen the police can use this number to identify a recovered mobile phone as yours, and it can be returned to you with minimum fuss.

As soon as you get a new mobile phone you should write down the IMEI number and store it in a safe place. The IMEI number is a 15 digit number which is written on the back of your handset under the battery. The IMEI number can also be found on most mobile phones by typing *#06# on the keyboard – this is especially helpful for iPhones, as you cannot remove the battery from your phone without making your warranty void.

Set a PIN
One of the easiest ways to prevent someone from using your mobile phone without your permission is to set a Personal Identification Number (PIN). This means that nobody can use your handset without first entering a four digit number. Your phone manual will be able to tell you how to set a PIN, and many SIM cards come with a preset PIN.

Mobile phone insurance
Many smartphones are worth hundreds of dollars. If your phone is lost or stolen aside from the inconvenience, you will also have to cover the cost of purchasing a new one. If you are getting your handset through a plan then you will probably be legally obliged to pay your monthly bills for the duration of the contract, whether you have the handset or not. Taking out mobile phone insurance can, depending on the level of cover, insure you against loss, theft or damage. It often costs between $8 and $12 per month, which could save you a lot of money should anything go wrong. Most phone companies will be able to direct you to their preferred mobile phone insurance provider.

Find my iPhone & Where’s my Droid
iPhone users should download the Find my iPhone app, and Android users should download the Where’s my Droid app. They essentially do the same thing. They help you to find your phone, and if finding it isn’t possible, then they allow you to make sure it can’t be used by someone else. After you have downloaded the app you can log into a website and control the phone remotely. You can get the phone to make a loud noise, even if it is on silent, so you can find out if it is in the vacinity. You can see where your phone is located on a map, if your phone has reception. If neither of these work you can tell the phone to display a message asking whoever finds it to return it to your address, and in a worst-case-scenario you can remotely wipe all the data from your phone.

Click NEXT to find out what to do after your mobile phone has been lost/stolen

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    To make a comment, please register or login

    15th Jun 2012
    Did you see on the news last night about someone racking up a $65,000.00 phone bill while overseas through using 'data roaming' (whatever that is). My daughter's overseas at the moment so I passed that info on to her. Apparently others, too, have returned home to huge mobile bills so pass it on..
    15th Jun 2012
    Old news I'm afraid Pip. That has been going on for years. Young people need to be smarter about their phone use. Their parents need to keep up to date to at least warn them of the pitfalls.

    This is an excellent article which I shall alert my computer students to (all over 55) and others in my computer club.

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