I’m going to share with you what I wish I’d known before my phone was stolen. I NEVER thought it would happen to me. I might be a busy and sometimes distracted mom but I had never lost my phone before. So when I misplaced it this past weekend you can imagine I was panicked. Not only did I lose it but then it was picked up by the wrong person and they stole it, used it, and took away from me pictures that I can never get back.
I am writing this so that everyone can learn from my mistakes and hopefully have a better chance than I did at locating their missing device. I will share with you what to do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER your phone is misplaced or stolen. I will share with you what I wish I’d known.
There are so many ways to back up your contacts, messages, photos, and more. However, until you actually need those back-ups you don’t realize how valuable they are. My current service provider offers cloud space for me to use and they offer 5 GB of free space (if you need more you can pay extra to add more GBs). Google also has storage for photos and more; and Apple offers the iCloud which is extremely easy to use. Even if you have these back-up options installed and set-up on your device, I highly recommend double checking them from time to time. I did have my cloud space set-up, but had run out of storage. Not realizing that is what led to me losing my precious pictures.
Set-Up A Passcode On Your Device
Do it, do it now! I did not have my passcode set-up which made my phone an ideal target. I easily gave the person who took my phone access to everything! They didn’t even have to work for it. I now ask myself constantly if they would have left my phone alone if they wouldn’t have been able to easily access it. When you set-up your passcode please do us all a favor and be more creative than 1234!
Know Options For Tracking Your Device
If you are an android user like myself activate Android Device Manager and Location History. If you are an Apple user install and activate Find My iPhone, iPad or Mac app. Having these already activated and installed will give you the greatest chance of locating your lost/stolen device.
Purchase Insurance For Your Phone
If your unable to locate your lost or stolen device, than having insurance will help you get another one. It’s an affordable way to replace your device.
Track Down Your Device
If your device has been misplaced or stolen, now is the time to use those apps we just talked about. Check your Device Manager or Find My iPhone app. Both of these options give you a chance to ring your device (even if the phone is on silent), locate by GPS, or lock and erase it. I wish I would have known about this when I lost my phone, it might have been very useful. Don’t forget to check your Google Activity to see if there is any suspicious activity. If you think your device is lost, try ringing it. If you suspect it’s stolen, then quickly WIPE THE PHONE CLEAN. This will make sure your information is protected.
*If you GPS track your phone and you suspect it’s been stolen call the police, DO NOT attempt to retrieve the phone yourself!
Report Your Phone Lost or Stolen
Contact your service provider to report your phone lost or stolen, they will walk you through suspending your line and options for replacing the device.
Change All Of Your Passwords
There are so many things that can be easily accessed on our phone like emails and common shopping apps, normally our passwords are stored so that we don’t have to log in every time we open these apps. Change all of your passwords ASAP to help protect yourself!
Let me tell you my story and you will see why all of the previously stated information is so useful. I did not have my information backed up properly, I was only able to retrieve a portion of everything that was saved on my phone. I did not know about or prepare for needing a way to track my device once it was stolen. It was a day later before I learned ways I could figure out what had happened to my phone. I did not call and report it lost or stolen immediately and the person who took it used 5 GB of my data in only a few hours time. I had no way to wipe my phone clean so the person who took it still has access to everything.
Don’t think it can’t or won’t happen to you! I was shocked and unprepared when it happened to me. I hope this information will help someone else, it’s the only way I can turn this negative experience into a positive one. To the person who stole my phone, my phone can be replaced but my pictures can’t, I hope it was worth it!
*Has this ever happened to you? We want to hear your stories and what you wish you would have known.
Find My iPhone – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648?mt=8
Android Device Manager – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.adm&hl=en
iCloud – http://www.apple.com/icloud/
Google Back-Up Information – https://support.google.com/photos/answer/6193313?co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid&hl=en