For misfortune, he mobile theft it is still a reality that we face every day. They are too expensive “gadgets” and that sometimes we do not protect enough (or we forget it), becoming too juicy a target for pickpockets.
Next we will review what you should do to protect your mobile and what can you do if, unfortunately, they just stole your mobile. I’m not going to lie to you, recovering it will be difficult in many cases, so our main interest will be to prevent access to our personal data within it.
Protect it before it’s too late
It is already known that prevention is better than cure, and our mobiles are no exception. It is not just making it difficult for thieves to get hold of your mobile, but adopting the necessary measures to prevent, if it happens, have free way to use them and access their content.
Although from the outset it may seem that, once you have lost your phone, what is inside is the least of it, you should think twice. With the bookmark sync, passwords, notes, mail or autofill of forms, your mobile is the key to a huge amount of personal information, credit cards, online identities and more.
1. Do not leave it in sight
Let’s start with the most obvious: the best thing is directly that your mobile is never stolen. Don’t make it easy for thieves and keep it safe in a place that cannot be removed quickly. This is especially important in crowded places, such as the metro at rush hour.
If you are one of those leave the mobile on the table in the restaurant, wrong. You just need a mistake so that when you look back, the mobile is no longer there, and it may take a while until you realize it. If you are one of those who have a mobile three feet sticking out of the back pocket of the pants, bad too.
Do not forget it either, because sometimes it will not be a pickpocket who takes your mobile but the next person who finds it. A good habit before getting up from anywhere is to look back and check that we are not taking everything that belongs to us (glasses, watch, wallet, mobile, etc.)
2. Turn on Find my device
There are applications specialized in protecting Android mobiles such as Cerberus or Prey, but in reality it is worth it with Find my device, the Google function that comes already built into Android.
It can be a bit tricky to find the fit, but here is the route. First, go to Settings, then Google. Now it is the turn to open the subsection Safety and finally, Find my device. Note: you do not need to install the Find my device application: this application is used to locate it, just as you can in the web version.
Coon Find my device you can do that, find it, plus erase all data, change password and lock screen remotely. Depending on the version of your mobile, you may need to grant administrator permission in the Android settings to do so.
To check if Android Device Manager is on, go to Settings – Applications – Special Access and Device Administrators, where it should appear to you Find my device. If it’s not activated, turn it on so you can remotely wipe and lock your phone.
3. Add protection with biometrics, PIN, password, etc.
Are you one of those who go through life without any security on the mobile lock screen? I do not judge you, I did it myself before, but that comfort for you will be a blessing for whoever steals your mobile. From the first second you will have full access to all your content.
A motivated thief will find out how to access phone data sooner or later (especially if it is not encrypted), but any added security it will give you valuable time to react, clear the data and change your passwords.
4. Write down the IMEI
A thing that you will need to report the theft of your mobile is the IMEI code, a unique identifier with which you can theoretically disable your stolen mobile so that it is not possible to resell it. If you already threw the box, you can still get it by calling the phone * # 06 #.
Note that terminals with two SIM they will also have two IMEI codes. You can read more detailed information about IMEI codes and what they are for in our previous article, but in short, you will need it if your phone is stolen later.
5. Optional: Encrypt the content
If your mobile contains particularly sensitive information, you should consider encrypting its content. However, it is not an option for everyone because you can assume that you yourself are unable to access your files in case you have any problem with the phone.
Performance can also be slightly affected, especially on low-end terminals, so before launching to encrypt your Android I suggest you weigh the pros and cons. Yes, it will be much more difficult for a criminal to access your files if they are encrypted and you take other measures quickly, which we will see below.
My cell phone has just been stolen, what do I do?
Unfortunately, your mobile has just been stolen or you have lost it and you have no idea where it is, what can you do about it? Every second counts, so stay calm and take the following steps to try to recover it and minimize the damage.
1. Find it
The most obvious and the basic instinct after losing your phone is to look for it. Before launching complaints and blocking terminals, make sure it’s really lost or that it has been stolen from you. There are still good people who, when finding a lost object, are willing to return it to its owner instead of keeping it, so try calling and see if someone answers.
In Google, type Where is my phone to open Google Find my device. Here you can see its location and remotely ring it to find it. Do not play it unless you are in the area, as you want to keep the battery as long as possible.
Now, if your mobile has been stolen or it is in a place that is not where you lost it (that is, someone has taken it) don’t play the hero. Tragic stories of people who are attacked or even lose their lives after following the trail of a lost mobile are frequent. You can use Find My Phone as confirmation that someone has stolen it. So act quickly on the following points.
2. Cancel the SIM and request a duplicate
One of the first steps you can do is cancel your SIM card and request a duplicate. Some operators allow you to carry out these operations directly from their web control panel, while in others you will have to call by phone.
Overriding the SIM card will prevent the thief from spend your credit making calls at your expense, while the duplicate is important so that you can retrieve your phone number as soon as possible. In addition, it will prevent that person from using your mobile to receive verification codes by SMS.
3. Change your passwords
On your mobile you have the logged into a bunch of services like Google, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Paypal and a long etcetera. Some of these keys are tremendously important, because for example with the Google password you can see the passwords saved in Chrome.
Some of these services allow you to log out remotely, but the easiest way to be sure is change Password. After changing it, all sessions are automatically closed, making it mandatory to log in again with the username and password: data that the thief will not know.
This is why it is important to deactivate the SIM card first, as some password recovery services use the SMS verification. Once the SIM disabled and the passwords changed, the thief loses access to a lot of information.
4. Report it to the police
Now that you have done your homework and your data is somewhat more secure, you can go and report it to the police. You will need the IMEI code And, regardless of whether the complaint does not result in you recovering the mobile, you will need it to request that the terminal be blocked due to its IMEI.
5. Block it completely and delete its content
If you already give up your mobile for lost, press the red button to try to your content does not fall into the wrong hands. In fact, if your personal data is especially important, you can start at this point before the thief has time to act.
Open Google Find my phone again and press To block to change the password and optionally add a message and phone number. Something more radical is the button Erase which will erase all data from the device (if it is off, next time it is turned on). After being deleted, you will no longer be able to see where it is in Find my phone.
Call your phone company now and ask to block your stolen mobile by IMEI. You will need the complaint and some patience to deal with the bureaucracy. All Spanish companies share an IMEI blacklist, so they will prevent this device from connecting to the network.