What to Do When Your Phone's Been Stolen

Nov 13, 2012 17:11:33Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

What to Do When Your Phone's Been Stolen

It's every phone user's nightmare - you're riding a bus, in a taxi, or just walking down the street when you reach for your phone to find that it's gone missing. A few years ago, cell phone theft was merely an annoyance - all it meant was that you'd have to cough up cash to buy a new device. But today, it's not just the price of the phone that matters - it's also the information stored on it. Smart phones often contain bank account data, social media passwords and the names and info of loved ones, which means if they fall into the wrong hands, it can cause some serious mobile privacy headaches.

If you ever find yourself a victim of phone theft, here's what you should do:

1. Make sure it's actually stolen
Before you jump to any conclusions, you'll need to make sure you haven't simply misplaced your device. Try giving the phone a call if you're at home, or if you think you left it somewhere, like at a restaurant or in a cab, make an attempt to track it down before panicking.

2. Start damage control
Once you've determined that the phone is indeed stolen, then you need to start damage control immediately. It won't take long for a thief to start hacking into the device in order to access your mobile identity, so time is of the essence. Call your phone company and any financial institutions connected to your smart phone and tell them to cancel your accounts.

3. File a police report
Next you should alert local police to the theft. It may seem hopeless, but sometimes police can track down lost devices by reviewing security footage. Reporting the theft could also help other people avoid the same fate.

5. Act today
There are preventative measures you can use to help keep your cell phone privacy intact. First, make a list of all of the apps and programs on your phone that you'll need to cancel in case your device is stolen. You may also want to install a tracking application that can help you find your device or shut down its functions remotely. Additionally, make sure your smart phone is password protected so thieves will have a difficult time accessing your personal info.

Keep this list handy in case the unthinkable happens.