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8 Things to Do if Your Phone Is Lost or Stolen

by Geek Insider Staff
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You need to take prompt action immediately after your phone is lost or stolen. If the device falls into the wrong hands, your sensitive information, work documents, financial details, and passwords can get compromised.

However, you can limit the potential damage to the physical device if you take the necessary steps promptly.

If your lost phone is Android or iOS, you can utilize the built-in safety features to find, lock, or erase it. However, be sure that your phone is lost and not temporarily misplaced before taking these advanced steps.

Follow the steps discussed below to find the lost device or wipe the data to protect your privacy.

  1. Try Finding the Phone

Try several measures to track the phone before you conclude that you’ve lost it. You can call your number and see whether you’ll hear it ring. You can also open the Google Find My Device and activate the “Play Sound” feature even if the device is set to “Silent” mode. This way, the device will ring continuously for about five minutes.

Perhaps you dropped the phone in the nearby field, and a good Samaritan collected it. You can call or send a short message requesting a reply. They may receive the call/text and direct you to collect it.

  • Track Your Phone Via FindMyMobile

Samsung has a proprietary tracking service for all the Galaxy devices, allowing users to back up data remotely, set guardians, extend battery life, unlock the device, and retrieve calls and messages.

Follow the process below to track a lost Samsung Galaxy device.

  1. Open the “Samsung FindMyMobile” page.
  2. Sign in with your account’s login details.

A code will be sent to the linked email address.

  • Use the code in your email to verify account ownership.
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The service will then locate the device and show you on a map.

  • Tap on the pin icon to open more details.

The service also allows you to access settings, logs, and calls, retrieve your apps’ backup, erase data, and use the “Lock Power Off” feature that prevents other people from turning off your phone.

No need to worry if your phone isn’t a Samsung model. As explained below, you can use Google’s Find My Phone feature to track your lost Android device.

  • Use Find My Phone

Both Android devices and iOS activate the “Find My Phone” feature by default, provided you’re logged into their iCloud or Google account. The built-in security feature aims at helping users find, lock, or delete information on lost or stolen phones.

The “Find My Device” function shows the GPS location of your device on Google Map. All you need is to type “Find My Phone” on Google search and see crucial details of your phone location, including any active internet connection.

Apple, too has the “Find My iPhone” feature to track iPhones. All you need is access to your iCloud account and have the location activated on your device.

  • Lock or Wipe Your Phone

If you’re sure that your phone is in the wrong hands, you need to act promptly and wipe sensitive data. The first step should be to lock your Android phone remotely and log out of your accounts via the “Find My Device” service.

Follow the steps below to secure your lost or stolen Android device.

  1. Go to “Find My Device.”
  2. Select “Secure Device.”
  3. Create a new password.
  4. Click “Next.”
  5. Follow the prompt to lock your device completely.

If you want to delete sensitive information, follow the process below.

  1. Open the “Find My Device” page.
  2. Click on “Erase Device.”
  3. Sign in to your Google Account to authenticate your account.

Once you’re done with the verification process, the “Find My Phone service will delete all data from your device. However, if the device is offline, the wiping process may wait until the next time the device comes online.

It is also worth noting that once you delete all data from your device, you can no longer track the device using the Find My Phone service.

5. Change Passwords

If you used your lost or stolen smartphone for essential services such as banking, online shopping emails, etc., it’s advisable to change the passwords to safeguard your finances and data. While most banking apps have PIN protection, other apps lack additional security. Therefore, you need to change the password for these to prevent unauthorized access and purchases.

  • Inform Your Bank

While it’s difficult for criminals to bypass the biometric authentication or security measures on your banking apps, you could have financial credentials in plain text on your note-taking app, email, or cloud service. In this case, it’s imperative to contact your bank immediately to block your accounts and cards temporarily.

Also, it would help if you blocked all mobile wallet services and UPI by contacting their support desk.

That said, criminals with access to your SIM can reset the financial app password, so you better block the card right away.

  • Contact SIM Operator

Call your mobile phone operator to request immediate SIM deactivation to prevent criminals from making unauthorized transactions or services. The carrier can also lock the phone for users with the Pay Monthly Phone plan, rendering it useless even if the criminals inserted a new SIM.

  • Report to The Police

It’s among the first things you should think of whenever your phone is lost or stolen. Reporting the matter to the police can help you make your case against any criminal activity involving your phone. Besides, your phone insurer will need a police report to process your claim.

Track Your Lost or Stolen Phone

It’s vital to activate the Find My Phone services on Android and iOS or FindMyMobile for Samsung as a precautionary measure. That said, the phone tracking services will only work when you’re logged in. Also, keep your banking credentials secret away from your accounts or phone. Minimize any damage by temporarily blocking the lost phone and SIM and filing a police report.

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