What to do if your phone is lost or stolen?

These days we spend hundreds on our mobile phones, meaning losing it can be a real nightmare! Not only that but your phone holds lots of confidential data such as bank details, contacts, emails and photos. What is the first thing you should do when you lose your mobile phone?

Last updated: 2nd Jul 2020 at 3:18pm

Losing your phone can be both an upsetting and frustrating time for many. Especially since the personal data stored on your phone is at risk. You will also still have to pay the remainder of your contract and (if uninsured) find funds for a replacement handset!


Step 1: Call your phone

The first thing you should try is to call your phone; most phones vibrate when on silent so even this can lead you in the right direction. Just make sure you know your number ahead of time.

Apple iWatch users: Your iWatch has a convenient button that makes your iPhone bleep if you've misplaced it.

Of course, this won't help with a stolen phone, skip to Step 2. 


Step 2: Use Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager

These applications allow you to locate your phone from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. They can also assist you in remotely wiping information from your device! Read our step-by-step guide below for both Android and Apple phones. 

Find My iPhone

How to use Find My iPhone with another Apple device:

  • Turn on your iPad or Mac and head to Device Settings.
  • Click on your Apple ID and open the iCloud option
  • Scroll down until you find 'Find My iPhone' and enable it. 

How to use Find My iPhone using a web browser: 

  • Type iCloud.com into any web browser and log into your iCloud
  • Find the main menu and select 'Find iPhone.' 
  • Sign in by entering your Apple ID and password
  • Click on 'All Devices'

A map should show you the location of your missing or misplaced iPhone. The 'Find my iPhone' application should give you three options:

  1. Play Sound: If your iPhone has gone missing around the house you can play a loud musical tone even if your phone is on silent. 
  2. Lost Mode: You can enter a phone number which appears on the screen of your lost phone with the hope that someone returns it.
  3. Erase: If you're positive that your phone is stolen, and you don't think you can retrieve the device; you can remotely erase everything on it to stop criminals from accessing private data.    

Android Device Manager

When you first buy an Android phone, one of the first thing you should do is enable Android Device Manager. You can find this in Google > Settings > Android Device Manager. 

How to use Android Device Manager to find your phone: 

You get three options: Play Sound, Lock or Erase

  1. Play Sound: This can be used if you've misplaced your phone, it rings out for 5 minutes straight.
  2. Lock Device: Ensures your phone is locked while displaying a message and phone number in the hope that a good Samaritan picks it up. 
  3. Erase: You can erase all of your data from your device. However, once you've used this option, you will no longer be able to locate it. 


Step 3: Change Important Passwords

Change all critical passcodes to sensitive apps such as social media, email and online banking. The last thing you want it someone gaining access to your money or sensitive information. You can easily change all your passwords from one location if you use a password manager, like LastPass. 

If your phone has a patterned passcode, then it doesn't give you much time. A long-pinned passcode or a fingerprint is usually more secure than a patterned passcode. 


Step 4: Contact your mobile network and bank

If you've failed to recover your lost phone, you should contact your credit card and bank if you believe sensitive information might be at risk. 

It is also a good idea to contact your mobile network to alert them that the phone is missing. Your provider can block your SIM to stop unauthorised phone calls and texts on your account. Your provider then sends a replacement SIM card in the post, and you can use this in another device. 


Step 5. Report Your Phone Lost or Stolen

Report your stolen phone to the police - it's a long shot but worth a try. You can also register your stolen phone at www.immobilise.com, doing this logs your phone onto an online database which is used to alert second-hand phone traders. 


Step 6: Claim on your insurance 

You should contact your insurance provider and report your stolen phone as soon as possible. 

If you have mobile insurance, you should check the terms of your cover. Most covers usually allow you to claim if your phone has been lost, stolen or you've broken your phone. You might also be able to claim back for any unauthorised phone calls. 

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