According to the NYPD, 41% of all theft complaints involve a stolen cell phone, and reports of stolen cell phones skyrocketed 18% in the first three months of the year. If that pace holds, reports for stolen cell phones could hit 11,328 this year, up from 10,650 in 2009.
In most cases when a phone is stolen, it is nearly impossible for police to track down the thieves. Thankfully, technology can now help. For those of you who may find yourself in this unfortunate situation, this quick step-by-step guide will tell you what you can do to locate and secure your phone.If you have an Android phone, you’re in luck! Hopefully, you’ve already downloaded a find my phone app like Lookout to your phone, and the first thing you should do is remotely lock your phone. This will stop the thief from being able to access anything on your smartphone.
If you need a refresher course on how to use Lookout to locate, lock, or wipe your phone, visit our step-by-step guide on our blog. If you do not have Lookout installed on your phone, you can now use the web version of the Android Market to download Plan B to locate your Android. Plan B is available for Android 2.2 platforms and earlier. This can help you and the authorities track down your stolen device. Using Plan B is simple, but requires access to the Android Market website and your Google account, if you have an Android phone, you already have a Google account. If you do not have an Android phone, or want to take an extra step to keep the data on your phone safe, follow these simple steps:
1) Change all of your passwords, email, social networking, banking.
If you can’t remotely lock your smartphone, your next best bet is to change your passwords. Think about all of the apps you use on your smartphone that have a lot of personal information about you: Gmail, Facebook, Skype, banking apps. Changing the passwords to these apps will stop the thief from accessing your personal info.
2) Notify your carrier.
It’s always a good idea to notify your phone carrier as soon as your phone is lost. They can suspend your service to ensure that no unauthorized calls are made. And if you find your phone, you can easily reactive service.
3) If you’re very concerned you could freeze your credit card.
If you use your smartphone to purchase goods over the web or pay bills online, you may want to freeze your credit card when your phone is lost. Freezing your card will prevent any fraudulent charges from being made. Taking this final step will help give you peace of mind—knowing for certain that your bank account is protected.
4) Download a find my phone app like Lookout.
If you haven’t already, and to stay one step ahead, consider downloading an app that can locate lost and stolen devices. Why wouldn’t you, it’s free!