You reach for your phone, but it’s not in the usual place. It disappeared between the time you got on the crowded bus and pulled for your stop 15 minutes later. You didn’t drop it, and it’s not in your pocket or bag. Suddenly, your mind replays that moment when someone bumped you from behind. At the time, you thought nothing of this rush-hour collision, but now you know it for what it was: a pickpocketing technique.
What now? Here’s what you should do as soon as you realize your phone is gone.
Suspend Your Service
Most thieves steal devices so that they can sell them for profit on the street. After a quick data wipe, the average smartphone can earn them a couple hundred of dollars — easy. They can sell your stolen phone for even more if you have the latest flagships from Apple, Google, or Samsung.
That said, some pickpockets take your phone to use it. A thief can unlock your phone and call someone overseas or stream a whole season of their favorite show, plowing through your data plan.
If you don’t tell your cell phone provider about your theft, they won’t know it isn’t you causing these overages — which means you can still be on the hook for a big bill, even if you weren’t personally responsible for them.
How would you handle a $200 charge on top of your usual phone bill? While it’s always a good idea to dispute these charges with your provider, there’s a chance they won’t make any concessions for you.
If you don’t have $200 laying around this month, you might consider using a personal loan online to cover you extra bill.
Going online for loans is a quick and convenient way to explore your options, but you should narrow your search to where you live. So, if you live in Canada, you should research borrowing options for Canadians exclusively. This focus will increase your chances of getting approval, as many online personal loans require you live in a certain area to be approved.
Report Your Stolen Device
Suspending your service usually involves reporting your lost phone to your cell phone provider. You may also report the theft to the local authorities. Filing a police report creates a record of the theft. There’s also a chance your police service recovers the phone when performing a raid.
To make this report effective, you’ll have to share your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) or MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier). You can find these numbers by dialing *#06# on your keypad or going to the “about” section under your settings.
Avoid Theft: Reduce Your Risk of Becoming a Victim
Recovering a stolen phone is rare, which makes prevention all the more important. Making your phone unattractive to thieves can keep your phone in your hands:
- Never leave your phone unattended.
- Be aware of your surroundings in public.
- Don’t keep your phone in the front pocket of a backpack or purse, as these areas are easy to pickpocket.
- Conceal your phone on your body if you are travelling.
- Attach your phone to your person using a wrist strap or lanyard.
- Set up Find My Device or Find my iPhone.
- Set up a strong password and enable biometrics.
You can still have your phone stolen, even if you follow all of these steps. However, they reduce your risk, as a thief is more likely to move onto an easier target.