Tuesday Tip: Prevent Your Phone from Getting Lost or Stolen
By Yehudit Garmaise
After stepping out of the revolving door at Newark International Airport this summer, I unhappily discovered that my phone was not in my purse, my carry-on bag, nor any of my pockets.
After fruitlessly re-tracing my steps back through the revolving door, and back up the stairs to the gate where I first emerged, I took out my laptop to use the Find-my-Phone, which strangely revealed that my phone was somewhere on the street just outside of the airport, where I had not yet stepped.
Then I sadly watched as my phone started to move away: in an unfamiliar car.
Finally, the phone stopped at a house somewhere in Newark. My first thought was to go to the house in Newark and politely ask for my phone back, before deciding against confronting a criminal.
That night, I sadly could not take a photo as the summer sun set over the NYC skyline, but while spending hours speaking to various employees of T-mobile and Sprint to try to get my phone replaced, I thought of a few ways I could prevent losing my phone again and later researched what could make the stressful experience a bit easier.
Turn on Find-It Mode: So if you just left your phone somewhere, by using another device, you can easily retrace your steps to find it. Find My works even when your phone is off or the battery is dead and the phone is shut down.
If you don’t have another device, you can mark your phone as lost, and then use a family member’s Find My app to find your phone.
Make sure you have insurance for your phone: To get a new phone quickly and somewhat painlessly, buying insurance means that, if necessary, you will get a replacement sent to you relatively quickly at a much-reduced price.
Store your phone in the same, designated place after using it, when you are out and about: Don’t stuff your phone sometimes in a coat pocket, sometimes throw it in a bag, and sometimes, carry it, which can lead to easily losing track of it.
Buy a small, crossbody purse, or choose a “phone pocket”: Women can wear small crossbody purses that zip shut in which to always return their phones and their identification to show security, instead of throwing everything in one big bag, where things can easily get lost.
Men should choose one pocket: that is designated as a home for their phones when outside of the house.
Pay Close Attention to Surroundings: Dishonest people in crowds can easily take phones, wallets, and other items from people who are daydreaming in public. We can make things easier for ourselves by safely stashing our phones in only one place when we are outside walking, shopping, or traveling.
Set Phone to Lock Automatically: so no one can hack into your personal information, steal from you, nor use your phone, Tech Expert Kim Komando advises. Phones that were not set to lock automatically when they were lost can be locked remotely from other devices.
Don’t Leave On Your Bluetooth: which can both pose security risks and drain your battery. Through Bluetooth, bad actors can send dangerous links, hack into personal information, or intercept sensitive messages.
To identify your phone if it is found: Keep a record of your phone’s serial number, and not on your phone, to which you would not have access if it were stolen. Phones also have manufacturers’ serial numbers called International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) that are stored in your phone’s settings.
Take screenshots of your phone’s serial numbers and store them in the cloud, or print them and carefully file them at home or keep the number in the box in which your phone was sold.
Police who find your phone can use your serial numbers to identify it. Also, with your serial numbers, you can ask your carrier to block your IMEI code so as to lock your phone out of the network, so no one takes over your phone number.
Back Up Your Data: While our phones are replaceable, family photos, contacts, notes, and other data can be devastating to lose. Set your phone to back up automatically, so you can always retrieve your data.
Remotely Wipe all the Data on your Phone: to ensure that no one has access to the vast amounts of personal information stored on your phone, if it was definitely stolen or lost.