You’re running late for work and rush frantically off the bus when you get to your stop. As the doors close and the bus pulls away, you realize you’ve left your cell phone on the seat.
While you might never forget your phone on a bus, many have to deal with the frustrating experience of losing or having a phone stolen. Instead of despairing that you lost the embarrassing pics you snapped of your best friend last week, here’s what you can do.
While you might be tempted to run frantically after the bus
as it drives away with your phone, the better thing to do is to call your carrier and suspend service or remotely lock or erase your phone. Also, make sure to give your IMEI (international mobile equipment identifier) number, and your device serial number to your carrier and police. While police won’t investigate the theft, they’ll add it to their list of stolen phones. Your IMEI and serial number can be found on the back of your phone or near your sim card – depending on your model. If you didn’t write your serial numbers down – don’t worry. You can find them on iTunes if your phone syncs with iTunes, on the box it came in, and on your receipt.
Change Your Passwords
There are a number of apps that remain logged in and which someone shady could use. Some of these apps save your credit card details so you might want to call and put a hold on your card. Luckily, banking apps require you to put in your password or Touch ID every time you access them so there’s no need to worry about anyone accessing your bank account or payment apps.
Do you feel lucky? It’s time to cross your fingers and hope that a Good Samaritan has found your phone and turned it into lost and found. You can try calling it to see if anyone will pick it up and arrange to meet you.
Check Your Tracker
If you installed a tracker app, you can potentially track your phone. Unfortunately, trackers don’t tend to be 100% accurate. They’ll lead you to a general area, but won’t tell you exactly where your phone is. And if you lost it – having the app tell you your phone is somewhere in your house is not going to help.
Check Your Cloud
One of the benefits of having a cloud backup is that if your phone’s stolen, the thief might just snap a selfie and sent it to the cloud! If not, you’ll still have all your data there and can quickly upload it to a new phone. If you don’t have a cloud service, be sure to sign up for one – especially if you take lots of pictures that you would be sad to lose.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you purchased cell phone replacement insurance, or have a low deductible on your home insurance, then you can contact your provider to ask them to help you make a new phone magically appear! Doing so is easy and you often just need to tell them your phone number, the make and model of the device, and how it was lost or stolen.
Prepare for Next Time
Whether you get your phone back this time or have to buy a new one, it’s important that you take precautions. It’s easy to lose your phone and the best way to make sure that no one can access it is to protect yourself. Having a password, fingerprint ID, or TouchID on your phone might be annoying when you want to quickly check your e-mail, but it will help protect your personal data should someone other than you get access to your phone.
Unfortunately, at some point in their lives, most people will have to deal with a lost or stolen phone. The best thing to do is remain calm, follow these steps, find a friend who will listen to you vent and take more embarrassing pics for the future.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.