What to do when your smartphone is stolen

What to do when your smartphone is stolen
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If you’ve ever had your smartphone stolen, you know how aggravating and embarrassing it can be. Not only does some thief now have possession of your entire digital life, he or she also knows that you never got past the third level of Candy Crush.
And while you undoubtedly feel violated and super pissed, there are some important things you should and shouldn’t do when you realize a thief has purloined your handset. Here’s where to start.

If you’ve got an iPhone

If you’ve got an iPhone, now is the time to pat yourself on the back for having the wherewithal to sign in to your iCloud account when you first set up your handset. (You did sign up, didn’t you?) That’s because you can now use Apple’s iCloud.com to remotely lock your handset to keep thieves from accessing your private information or reset your phone.
To use Find My iPhone, you’ll want to log in to your iCloud.com account from another device, using your Apple ID and password. Click on Find My iPhone, and select your stolen iPhone from the All Devices tab at the top of the screen. From there, you’ll be able to remotely lock your phone.
If, under the circumstances, you’re pretty certain that you won’t ever see your handset again, you might want to go ahead and just remotely erase it, to be doubly sure your information is safe. To do so, select Erase iPhone from the Find My iPhone device screen. The next time the thief connects your handset to the Internet, your iPhone will receive the erase message and automatically wipe itself.
Find My iPhone also, obviously, lets you locate your device, though you’ll have to make sure Location Services are always enabled. The feature is meant for those times when you lose your phone in the back of a cab or leave it somewhere in your house. If your phone was in fact stolen, however, you shouldn’t try to track it down via the app in an attempt to catch the person who stole your gadget.
Instead, you should contact the police and show them your device’s current location. They might be able to use that information to track down the perp and recover your phone. There’s no reason to confront a potentially violent thief over a phone. Leave that part to the professionals.

If you’ve got an Android phone

Android smartphone owners can use Google’s Android Device Manager to locate, lock, and erase their handsets. To use the site, you’ll first have to link your Google account with your phone. If you originally set up your phone using your Google account, then you’re already set. If not, you can link your Android phone with your account by activating Google Now.
If you visit Google.com from your PC and type lost smartphone, smartphone lost, or smartphone stolen into the search bar, your search results will automatically include a map and the system will begin searching for your phone.
If you have multiple phones, you can select the one that went missing from the top right corner of the map. You can then send commands to your phone such as Ring, Lock, Locate, or Erase by clicking the appropriate button in the bottom left corner of the map. You’ll have to make sure you leave your phone’s GPS on all the time, though, to track its location.
The same rules — about not trying to go all Charles Bronson on the thief who stole your phone — apply here: If your phone was stolen, contact the police and let them handle the situation.

Call your carrier

OK, so your phone has been stolen, and the police can’t really do much to get it back. That’s a serious bummer. But before you buy a new phone, or take to the streets in your spandex unitard to bring justice to your fair city, you should call your carrier to suspend your service.
Suspending your service ensures that the person who stole your phone can’t run up your bill or make any purchases from your device.

An ounce of prevention

Once you’ve finished cursing the sky and the person who stole your smartphone and moved on to a new handset, you’re going to want to take some steps to make sure your new gadget doesn’t get pilfered like your last one.
Your first move is to make sure to set up a password lock for your phone. This way, should your new handset be lost or stolen, you can ensure that no one can access your information.
From a simple crime-prevention standpoint, you should keep your smartphone in sight at all times. Leaving your handset on a table at a restaurant and walking away will just lead to trouble.
On a similar note, if you’re riding public transportation or walking around your city, you’ll want to try to keep from displaying your phone so that thieves have fewer opportunities to snag it.
And if you haven’t activated iCloud on your iPhone and registered your Android phone with your Google account, for God’s sake, do it.
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