Smart Tips to Retrieve Your Stolen Smartphone

Gadgets

Losing your most valuable piece of property -- your smartphone -- to thieves could ruin your day or your life.  Find out the best way to act given such a situation with these useful bits of information.

Every minute matters.  Call your mobile operator and have your line blocked.  Put an end to the thief's lucky day as soon as possible by cutting off his access -- to make more calls or commit fraud using your personal data and images stored in your phone -- to your line as soon as possible.

Always take note of your phone's IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity number) so you can get the handset blocked in case it gets stolen. The IMEI number is a unique identification number for each handset.  It can be found on the phone itself, under the battery, on your bill or on a sticker on the phone's original packaging, near the bar code.  The IMEI number could also help identify your handset if it is recovered.

Before your phone lands in the wrong hands, type “*#06#” on your phone keypad. A 15-figure code is then displayed.  Write this down and keep it somewhere safe.  You can also save your phone's IMEI number somewhere where it can be accessed remotely, such as in the cloud or in an email.

Report the theft to the police, giving them the handset's IMEI number.  Keep a record of everything.  Police reports are usually required for operators to block line or handsets, or to make an insurance claim, if the handset is covered.

Today's mobile phones have highly evolved from their basic function of making calls.   Users often read emails, access social networks, and use shopping or banking apps on their devices.  Change your passwords quickly as tech-savvy thieves could gain access to online accounts.  

Make it difficult for the thief to use your phone.  Set up a locking system for your handset with a password, a combination of gestures or a fingerprint. Make sure you change the default password (0000 or 1234) to a more complex one.  A combination of alphanumeric characters (letters, numbers and symbols such punctuation marks) is recommended.

Another precaution is to set up device geolocation, if available. Certain mobile operators and app developers allow users to track the location of their mobiles on special websites, as well as block devices remotely and, in some cases, remotely recover data from the handset before deleting it.

To avoid losing data, sync your device with an online storage service to back up things like contacts, photos and more.  With some devices, everything can be recovered identically when you power up your new smartphone.

Photo by: Nana B Agyei / Flickr