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Help! I Lost My Phone! Now What?

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June 18, 2007 12:48:16 PM

In a society saturated by wireless phones, theft and loss are common problems. Today we look into theft prevention and how to deal with the loss of a phone.

More about : lost phone

June 18, 2007 6:05:42 PM

I have personally had my phone stolen, it was not a pleasant experience. Its actually kind of funny looking back on the situation, but at the time it was not.

I was on a bus and I guess somebody fished it out of my pocket (damn loose fitting jacket with baggy open pockets). Anyways, I noticed it was gone a little while later and was hoping that I possibly left it at work, so I didn't get it disconnected immediately (doh!). Later that day, while at a friend's house, my friend gets a very angry phone call from my gf looking for me. Turns out that some girl stole my phone and... wait for it... took photos of her... um... nether regions... and IM'ED THEM TO MY GF!

Seriously not f**king cool.

So of course my gf, who has been unable to contact me (stolen phone remember), thinks that this is some cruel way to break up with her (and we live together btw) or that I accidentally messaged her pics of some girl I'm cheating with or something to that effect. I tell her what happened (which sounds pretty implausible to her) and luckily for me she trusts me enough to believe me.

There were also a few other charges on the phone, totaling only $20 or so, so not a big deal there. Losing my contacts list was a little annoying, but not a huge deal. I have yet to hear of anybody else with as bad (or at least as odd) of a stolen phone story as that.
June 18, 2007 10:21:12 PM

All carriers are obliged by legislation (in Australia at least) to maintain an EIR (Equipment Identity Register) and to black-list lost phones. All carriers share this information as well. If everyone reliably and quickly registered losses with their carrier, the market for stolen phones would soon dry up. Also, the phone serial number is less useful than the IMEI number, which is what the EIRs use as their main ID.
Related resources
June 19, 2007 12:02:32 AM

I manage our cell users at our company and there are a few other things you can do to minimize the pain in loosing your phone or if your phone gets destroyed.

Store your contacts on your SIM chip and not on the phone. Most likely when your phone gets destroyed (assuming your SIM chip survives) you can still access your contacts on another phone. You may loose some phone features with your contacts by doing this.

One thing to consider is to password or lock your SIM chip with a code. This will at least slow down the thief from accessing your information and give you a chance to notify your carrier. This can get annoying because everytime you use your phone to dial a call, you have to enter the password (tip: keep it short... please don't use 1234).

Most cell phones have the option of purchasing software to install on your pc that can copy your contacts to the computer. This way you have a back-up of your contacts. The synchronization only takes a matter of seconds once you have it all setup. The smart phones all support Outlook with Microsoft's ActiveSync, RIM's Blackberry Manager, or Palm Desktop for the TREO phones.

Some corporate users have options to configure their phones/service with remote wipe. This allows administrators to remotely wipe all of the phone's information. The article touched on the sensitivity of some of the information that can be stored on the phone and this is something all carriers should implement into their system for all phones (TODAY!). The more users synchronize programs like Outook with their phone, the more information they carry with them.

Hopefully this is some useful information.
June 19, 2007 1:04:57 AM

I've never really lost my phone, but have changed phones before and know the hassle of a new contact list. As for the account access, I dunno about other carriers, mine (T Mobile USA) always asks for the last four digits of the social security number of the primary account holder every time I want to change something and even just to ask some questions about the account, no number no changing the account. Even if the thief gets around that, there are usually questions asked and those are more then enough to deter a thief unless they do their homework first(on you). And if your phone is lost, I'm sure the carriers will be more then happy to help IMO.
June 19, 2007 9:01:30 AM

To me happened the exact opposite (photo excluding - just text sms)!
So, I did not steal anybody's phone, it was my GF who lost her to the hands evil goblins or orcs.
June 19, 2007 5:41:14 PM

I forgot to mention that I called my cell provider to disconnect my phone, but their customer service line (the one I needed to call to get my phone disconnected) is only open 9-5 and it was around 8pm or so when I wanted to get it disconnected, so I had to wait until the following morning. I ended up using my gf's phone to repeatedly call my phone in hopes of killing the battery.

For this and other reasons (and now that in Canada we can keep our same cell number), once my contract is up I'm switching to a different company. I'm also pissed off that when I lost my phone (about 4 months ago), I had been with my provider for 7 years and my contract was up the month before and they wouldn't give me any deal on a new phone (other than the usual $50 off for every year of the contract). I have had friends that have been with the same company for 3 years and have been offered a free $300 phone if they renew their contract.
June 20, 2007 4:37:52 AM

I "lost" my girlfriend's phone (Sony Ericcson Z550i) 2 days ago on the train. I ran back to the train 2 minutes later only to find the phone was gone.

What saddened me was not that I lost the phone; it's inconvenient for sure, but it can be replaced, but it was knowing that there was someone who didn't have the integrity to hand it in to the lost and found at the station, especially considering how useless it became 20 mins later after I reported it to my carrier.

I tried to call it 8 times and on the 7th and 8th time it went straight to voicemail instead of dialling then going to voicemail. The 6th and 7th time I called the phone was straight after one another, so this means that the thief was holding my girlfriend's phone in their hands as I was calling it and didn't answer. The 7th and 8th time I knew that the thief had turned the phone off and was trying to use their SIM card.

I have no hope that I'll find the phone; unfortunately most people don't think about the whole "I'd hope someone would hand it in to lost and found if it happened to me".

I'm trying not to feel bitter about it but learn from it, and not let myself degrade to such a low level. I don't hate the thief; hate requires enery which I can use on more positive things, but I do believe in karma and I can only hope that the thief realizes their error and tries to make amends.
June 20, 2007 4:39:19 AM

What phone service provider are you using, if you don't mind me asking, gm0n3y? You mentioned Canada, are you using Telus?

r0x0r, did any of the info here help you see ways in which you can protect yourself in this kind of instance? You mentioned no hope in ever finding the phone again, but with some of the national databases of phones/electronics which the law enforcement agencies check, there may actually be hope in future...
June 20, 2007 5:34:26 PM

Yes Telus. When you are a new customer, their customer service is great, but after having a cell with them for 7 years and having used their DSL for a few years, I am completely disappointed. This really wouldn't be enough of a reason for me to switch carriers, but add to it the fact that they have a very limited selection of phones and they lock a lot of the features, going so far as to disable bluetooth completely on my phone. I have had to resort to hacks to allow me to use my own ringtones. I'm switching to a carrier (Rogers) that will allow me to buy any phone and drop my sim card in.
June 20, 2007 11:26:16 PM

I see. I hope that works out for you!
June 21, 2007 6:26:37 AM

Quote:

r0x0r, did any of the info here help you see ways in which you can protect yourself in this kind of instance? You mentioned no hope in ever finding the phone again, but with some of the national databases of phones/electronics which the law enforcement agencies check, there may actually be hope in future...


Yeah it helped so I know what to do in the future. My girlfriend doesn't care 'cos she's not going to use the phone again. I just found that I had all the pics of my neice and goddaughter backed up on my PC so that was a huge relief. It was only a Z550i anyway.

I'm not going to bother reporting it to the police; they've got more important things to do than look for a lost phone (we have a gang of dickheads running around the city at the moment causing problems).
July 4, 2007 3:42:37 PM

My phone is too important for me to lose, I actually leave it at home now cos I dont want to drop it, get it stolen, or lose it. It would be a better idea to charge up my old phone and swap the sim card into it every morning, but thats too much hastle.

I only just syncronised my phone after reading this. Thatks for pointing it out
July 10, 2007 7:09:59 AM

Reading through this article made me look around for a free mobile backup service and i found zyb(http://zyb.com). Zyb has enabled me to backup my contacts, calendar, text messages directly from my phone Over The Air without any software/hardware and for free. I also like how u can share and edit ur information online as well and when u sync it with your phone everything gets updated in ur phone automatically. I think it's a cool service.
July 10, 2007 7:10:53 AM

Reading through this article made me look around for a free mobile backup service and i found zyb(http://zyb.com). Zyb has enabled me to backup my contacts, calendar, text messages directly from my phone Over The Air without any software/hardware and for free. I also like how u can share and edit ur information online as well and when u sync it with your phone everything gets updated in ur phone automatically. I think it's a cool service.
September 29, 2007 2:31:41 PM

I work in a call center for T-Mobile, so I am very use to these type of unfortunate situations. There's been many a tears shed over the phone when customers are calling in to report it. I understand it's a very frustrating situation. The customer is faced with losing their contact list, being inconvenienced for a while until a replacement arrives, the stress of not know whether or not someone is using it, and also the added financial cost of getting a replacement.

I really hate the situations when the customer reports lost/stolen and they are within 30 days of activation. Without having the insurance, the customers are looking at paying full retail price. Some customers don't understand that we cannot offer free or highly discounted phones but every so often. We don't get the phones for free, so towards the end of the contract is when we actually start making some of our profit.

I always advise my customers to take advantage of the PIN protection on the handset, you will need to enter the PIN code each time you switch your mobile on. If the pin is entered incorrectly 3 times, then it's locked and you need to call customer service and after fully verifying your account, we can provide you with the PUK code.

Also, some of our phones now come with an address book sync feature. This allows you to securely synchronize your contact information from your phonebook to our servers. So if you are faced in this unfortunate situation, at least retrieving your old contact list would be a breeze.

Also, there was mention earlier about having the last four of the social verified to gain access to an account. There are a lot of people that could know those last four numbers. Wife, ex-wife, collection agencies, bill collectors, private detectives, and so on. As an added precaution, it's a good idea to add a security password to your account as well. Even if someone happens to gain unauthorized assess to your account, we will never provide over the phone any details about your account. Address, incoming or outgoing specific phone numbers, cities called, and so on. We can verify this information once you provide it to us because any of this information can be used by someone to locate you. So please dont get mad and hang up on me if you call up and verify your account and I don't provide you with the last number called. It's for your protection.
September 17, 2008 7:42:55 AM

A missing or stolen cellphone may become a big problem that's why as a consumer we have to take immediate actions by filing a formal missing/stolen report together with cell phone service carrier and government agencies by that they make a necessary steps one should take to lessen the missing/stolen cases.
November 21, 2008 4:10:23 PM

I lost my phone in SFO airport and almost got talked into buying a new Razor for $239.00. I opted for the $20 pre-paid deal. When I got home, my wife already had purchased an online service called www.foundit.com" target="_blank">. Sure enough 6 weeks later, I lost it again at a bar. I acutally got it back 4 days later through this service. I could not beleive it. Bar tender called foundit the next morning.
December 8, 2008 8:56:25 PM

Everyone should checkout Rewarding Return

They sell recovery labels that have gotten my lost phone returned to me TWICE now. Serisouly a real life saver. I'll save you all the lengthy description - just go take a look. They even pay to ship it back to you when someone finds it... for realz

www.RewardingReturn.com
December 17, 2008 1:24:06 PM

I lost my phone in university first thing i did was report it to security, used there phone got my phone blacklisted THEN asked to see the camera footage of that building of the time my phone was stolen unfortunately the camera was pointing in the wrong direction at the time my phone was nicked. I handed my details over to security at the university they promised to phone me if the phone came in and i left went in to town and bought a new 250pound phone from 3, and cancelled my contract. no big loss really.
August 5, 2009 2:17:05 PM

I lost my phone school shopping and its a LG Dare Which costed 100$ and 50$ a month and now its either at my mom office with a bunch of guys she and i barely know or at Quiznos or Office Max....My moms going to kill me.
August 5, 2009 9:59:39 PM

Hi, I have created a contacts management website that allows you to maintain a record of your contacts list on line securley and then you can push them to your devices when you need them via email or sms. If anyone would be prepared to try it and let me know what they think that would be cool. Would appriciate any feedback. Thought it would be relevant to this thread.
Anonymous
a b F Wireless
March 30, 2010 12:20:20 AM

gm0n3y said:
I have personally had my phone stolen, it was not a pleasant experience. Its actually kind of funny looking back on the situation, but at the time it was not.

I was on a bus and I guess somebody fished it out of my pocket (damn loose fitting jacket with baggy open pockets). Anyways, I noticed it was gone a little while later and was hoping that I possibly left it at work, so I didn't get it disconnected immediately (doh!). Later that day, while at a friend's house, my friend gets a very angry phone call from my gf looking for me. Turns out that some girl stole my phone and... wait for it... took photos of her... um... nether regions... and IM'ED THEM TO MY GF!

Seriously not f**king cool.

So of course my gf, who has been unable to contact me (stolen phone remember), thinks that this is some cruel way to break up with her (and we live together btw) or that I accidentally messaged her pics of some girl I'm cheating with or something to that effect. I tell her what happened (which sounds pretty implausible to her) and luckily for me she trusts me enough to believe me.

There were also a few other charges on the phone, totaling only $20 or so, so not a big deal there. Losing my contacts list was a little annoying, but not a huge deal. I have yet to hear of anybody else with as bad (or at least as odd) of a stolen phone story as that.






OK well i lost my phone and cant find it please help me it is off and i have no idea where it is
April 5, 2010 9:49:56 AM

yes i cn understand the pain when your cell phone lost,wat else you can do is you can clock that phone by just calling to mobile service provider, n tell them your a code which is written behind the mobile's battery.

April 6, 2010 10:05:27 AM

To retrieve the contact phone numbers (sent or received) a new service by https://lostmycontacts.com automates the tedious (and expensive) task of rebuilding your contact database by automatically doing reverse look-ups from the call history (on your carriers web site) and populating the numbers on your bill with identities and nifty reports (VIPS, commercial busineses etc, geographic, inbound vs outbound, duration, frequency etc). 90% of numbers including private and mobile numbers are correctly identified.

The service is $20; but you don't have to pay until you are satisfied that the results are worthwhile (they'll display a list of recovered names but not the numbers); prior to you committing to paying the $20. Results within an hour and then downloadable via CSV.

Although this does not bring the phone back.. it does salvage your phone numbers for transfer to a new phone....

Anonymous
a b F Wireless
April 25, 2010 5:24:57 PM

Ive lost my phone why shopping, it was only a cheap one but i cba with all the hassle sorting it out is therre any way i can track it?
April 29, 2010 3:14:11 PM

1. Call up the "Customer Care" helpline of your airtime provider and ask them to deactivate the SIM.
2. Call up the police. Submit them the IMEI number of your phone (which you should have noted before the theft).
July 28, 2010 9:07:22 PM

This topic has been closed by TheGreatGrapeApe
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