There’s nothing like the feeling of dread you get when you get home at the end of the day only to find you don’t have your smart phone. You start to think back through your day: where did I have it last? Did I have it right before I came home? Did I leave it at the bank? Did I put it down at lunch and forget to grab it when I left the restaurant? And so on and so forth.
Then real panic sets in. You have a lot of information on there that is now available to anyone who has contact with your phone. Your banking profile, your PayPal password, user names and passwords for dozens of customer accounts and more. How do you go about finding it? Here are some steps to take before you lose everything on your phone and your sanity, too:
This may be a no-brainer, but call your phone first. You could have left it at your friend’s house or it’s under the bed. If you still can’t find it, then start tracking.
Track your phone
If that doesn’t work, track your phone. If you call it and happen to get someone who is honest and will hold the phone until you come and get it, lucky you. Or maybe not; it could be a thief who has your phone and wants to throw you off.
If you have an iPhone, the Find my iPhone app will track your phone. You can put it in ‘Lost’ mode to track it and see where your phone is. You can remotely lock it, erase the data on your phone, and more. Android phones have the built-in Android Device Manager, which will help you go through all the steps of tracking from the Google Portal. If you haven’t set it up ahead of time and you are an Android user, you’re in luck because you can use it without having configured it first. Refer to your phone’s user manual to use it, or look up the instructions online.
Lost is another good tracker in case you don’t want to use the Android Device Manager. You can remotely lock your phone, erase your phone, erase your SIM card, track it by GPS or network, start the alarm with a flashing screen (useful for the under-the-bed scenario), and more.
Jump online and start changing your passwords; email, Facebook, your bank, everybody. Log out of all your accounts, as well. If you have sensitive information on your phone, this might also be the time to invest in an identity theft protection plan.
Call your carrier
Call your carrier if you can’t erase your data, reset the password, etc. Tell them to deactivate and reset your phone. There are a couple of preventative measures to take before you lose your phone. One is to activate the lock on your screen with a password (and don’t make it 1234) or a swipe pattern. Here’s the second.
Kaspersky is known for its anti-virus protection and has developed a mobile security app, as well. Besides anti-virus and security protection, it has a heavy duty anti-theft feature. This feature has all the options discussed previously, but there’s one option that stands out from the rest of the apps: Kaspersky Mobile Security has a mugshot function that will take pictures of the person who has your phone without them knowing. To do this, the option must be enabled. If you have this app and want to use this function, here’s what to do:
Go to the Anti-Theft Management Web Portal, where you can manage your device for anti-theft. This is where you can view photos that have been taken of whoever has your phone. The app is for $14.95.
Losing your phone can be scary, at best. The best offense is a good defense, so take the necessary precautions before you do anything else.