Aside from the hassle of replacing the phone and setting up a new service, it’s even more important to think about your exposure to identity theft and a thief’…s access to sensitive information – including, for example, passwords to your online banking! Here are basic security tips (based on FCC recommendations) to help avoid a loss!
Make sure you set up a security password to restrict access to the keypad. That will at least slow the thief down from accessing your information. You may also want to consider making your lock screen show an alternative phone number and/or alternative email (not your home number or primary email) so if the phone is lost it can be returned to you. NEVER put your home address on that screen or attach or print it on your phone in any way.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
If you feel you need your phone handy at all times…keep it in your pocket or purse. Leaving it out on a table sets you up to forget it or for a thief to grab it and disappear. Remember too, if you are walking down the street holding the phone, using ear buds…you are a prime target (not only for theft, but also for assault.) Never leave your phone visible in your car; it’s too inviting to thieves and can leave you with a smashed window along with a stolen phone!
DOWNLOAD ANTI-THEFT/LOCATOR SOFTWARE.
There are a number of apps you can download that will allow you to track your GPS-enabled cell phone from any computer, to lock it remotely, and to remotely erase your private data – including contact lists, texts, photos, emails, your browser history and any user accounts. Some even have the ability to emit a loud siren (to help you find it, or possibly dissuade a thief from keeping it!) The apps range in cost from FREE to low annual subscription fees.
KNOW YOUR PHONE’S SERIAL NUMBER.
The serial number is called an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) or MEID number. It’s on the bottom of your battery, but rather than opening up your phone, there are other ways to find it. For example, depending on your phone model and provider, simply dial * and your 15 digit IMEI will appear. If that doesn’t work on your particular phone/service, here’s a link to a list of other ways to access the information: http://www.wikihow.com/Find-the-IMEI-Number-on-a-Mobile-Phone
Some service providers will disable your phone for you (not all) but you MUST have your phone make, model, and IMEI for that to occur.
OK, but what do you do if you think your phone has been stolen?
First, do what you can to confirm you haven’t simply misplaced it. Call your number and listen for the ring, or use your location app (if installed.)
If you confirm it has been stolen, activate your anti-theft software immediately.
Report the loss to your mobile carrier and disable the number. (Keep a record of the date and time you called and the name of the person you spoke with along with any pertinent information.)
Report the loss to the police and file a report.
Change all login passwords/codes that might be accessible from your phone (e.g. online banking, social media accounts, access to company servers, etc.) immediately!
If you are concerned about identity theft, we recommend that you contact us 508-699-7511 to determine if you have identity theft coverage on your homeowner insurance policy