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Advice about the loss/theft of a smart phone

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So a phone has been lost and I've got some questions about what to do in these kind of situations. Any answers gratefully received. I'm fairly new to the whole smart phone and android world, as is the owner of the phone and don't really know how they work.

 

Say someone 'finds' a phone and decides they want to keep it. They take the sim card out and stick their own in. What does the phone think of this? It's got all these apps and accounts on it that you've been using for months, facebook and snapchat and things. Do these stay on the phone, and continue to work? Logged in to the same accounts? Or would it block people?

 

Is it easy for someone to perform a full reset on your smart phone clearing all your stuff and making it theirs?

 

Is locking the sim the right or wrong thing to do? I think that until you fully decide it has gone forever you shouldn't lock it, and you should keep trying to phone it in the hope that whoever has it hasn't got round to charging it yet and when they do they'll try to return it, but everyone else is advising get it locked. I think if the phone had been lost in Spain I'd say lock it straight away but over here its not such an issue as there is plenty of space in the contract for people to make a few calls on it.

 

Do Sure (or MT) note down the IMEI number when they sell you a phone on contract, in case you try to bump them and sell the phone (or because you didn't bother to write it down anywhere yourself?)

 

The Android Device manager thing that you can log into on your laptop obviously needs your phone to be on to find it, but can it remotely turn the location thing on? The phone in question pretty much always has its mobile data on, but very rarely its location/gps thingy. Has anyone ever used it to find their phone and did it work?

 

I'm probably rambling a bit, but if any one has a clue I'd appreciate it greatly if they could chuck some advice this way thanks.

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If your phone is pay as you go do you give your name or a mickey mouse nom de plum instead,i ask this as it also affects lots of phones out there.

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Lock it straight away. I know you have minutes spare, but at the very least, get your provider to put a local calls only restriction on it. Stolen SIMs are a key part of mobile roaming fraud.

 

As for the device, depends who found it. Factory resetting and changing the IMEI number are pretty straightforward things to do if someone intends on permanently depriving you of your phone and has a basic grasp of how these things work.

 

You'll just need to hope that someone either hands it in and hasn't got round to it.

 

There are a bunch of apps and services that will let you remote wipe a device but they're worthless if someone has removed the SIM and hasn't connected it to a wireless network.

 

Noted from your thread that there were photos that would be lost. Next time you get a phone, get a free Dropbox account and set it to automatically upload your photos. That's a really simple way to avoid that pain.

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Googlemaps location history is good for trying to figure out where you may have lost your phone (if you haven't got a track my phone type app)

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The Android device manager has a feature to lock the phone and stick a number to call on it, so she's probably going to do that, and hope that someone decent has it. I've been calling the phone every hour since I got told it was missing and it hasn't been switched on. I was worried that by locking it I would no longer be able to call it, even if it was switched on.

 

The Android manager thing says it 'last synced' (whatever that means!!) at 4.12am Saturday morning apparently, so it hasn't been used since. It's quite cool in a slightly concerning way that you can find this kind of thing out. There's a facebook setting too, where you can check which device has logged into your account and when. No one has logged into that either, so I guess whoever has it isn't using it.

 

Dropbox is on the phone, but the auto upload feature was not enabled. Personally I didn't even know such a thing existed, so thanks for the tip, its now enabled on my phone!!

 

I thought the IMEI number was a permanent thing, like a VIN number so it's a little worrying that it can be changed.

 

Thanks for your replies.

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Googlemaps location history is good for trying to figure out where you may have lost your phone (if you haven't got a track my phone type app)

Also ace for piecing together where you went on a night out the next day.

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If it was that early Sat A.M, I bet it's in some toilet, and/or has been handed in somwhere (taxi office maybe) and the battery is just flat. Some cleaner might likely find it Monday because not many people work Sunday.

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For those of you with Android phones and device manager installed. You may find it interesting to type find my phone into the Google search box on your computer. If set up and the phone is active it will pinpoint it on a map.

 

 

If the original missing phone doesn't turn up then it's worth mentioning that buying any phone on a contract works out a very expensive way of doing it. You can buy a very capable Android phone for around £100 these days and more mediocre ones for much less. They are generally not locked in to a specific phone service provider, so all you need to use them is a SIM-only contract or pay as you go.

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The most important thing is to immediately change the passwords of anything which you have logged into from the phone. Especially your email which will typically otherwise provide an easy way for anyone to access other accounts via "i forgot my password". Your email will often therefore also provide access to accounts which you have you credit card or other payment methods attached to.

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Gonna go to Sure and get a replacement sim card today and I'll ask them this question, but figured I'd ask it here first cos sometimes you don't always get the best answers from the people in the shop.

 

We've locked the phone through the google account manager thing and used the option to stick a message on it with my phone number. When I get a replacement sim I assume Sure will cancel the one that is (or was!) in the phone. Will the locked message still appear on the screen when someone turns it on?

 

If someone could point me in the direction of a decent website with all this kind of information in relatively simple language that would be helpful too. Searching around gets you so much info, a lot of it conflicting and never from one single source.

 

Thanks.

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So, we got the phone back!

 

As I was driving to Douglas to get an alternative sim my phone buzzed, and it was a delivery report from a text I'd sent to the missing phone. So I rang it, and it rang, and rang, and rang. But at least now it was turned on! So we got back home and hit up the locate phone on the android manager. And what would you know, there it was, at one of 3 houses in Anagh Coar!! Amazing technology really, google reckoned accurate to about 24 metres.

 

So at this point we decided then that the phone had probably been nicked. We kept ringing it but no one would answer. The phone had been remotely locked with the only thing you could (apparently - we didn't know for sure) now do with it would be call me. I was all for going and knocking on the doors of the likely houses where the phone was and hoping either someone would just hand it over with an apology or I'd be able to spot a liar and beat it out of them.

 

We decided though that we should seek advice and so we called the police. We'd reported it as lost the previous day, and now we reported it as probably stolen. What a mistake that was. We explained that what we wanted was some advice about how to progress, and that we were concerned that the phone would soon be switched off again and that we thought that we needed to act soon. The police advice was do not go there yourself, ok we said, are you going to go? Well no, what the police wanted was information, what is the IMEI number, the PUK code all this kind of stuff. For their records. Sent via email. And then the guy went off shift. Great. We continued ringing the phone in the vague hope that someone would answer but no one did.

 

The following morning I rang the phone at half 7 and it rang out, checked the locate thing and it hadn't moved. By half 8 though the phone had been switched off. So we phoned the police again to tell them that the phone was now off and we were going up there ourselves. But the response from the police was that the officer we'd spoken to yesterday wasn't back on shift until 4pm and no one else could help. More awesomeness.

 

But then another member of the original party got in touch to say they'd spent a couple of hours on facebook tracking down some possible suspects from people they'd seen out that night. A couple of names were supplied and lo and behold one of the names was in the phone book at the exact location where the phone should be! Amazing. SO i called the house number, and in a stern but non threatening way I asked straight out 'have you got a phone you shouldn't have?'. Turns out he did, I said I'm coming to get it, he said do you know where I live, I said yes, yes I do. But of course the person himself wasn't there when I got there, but the phone was handed over with some mumbled explanation by the guys dad. Which is fine, we got the phone back and aren't the type to press charges or things like that. Just happy.

 

Learnt a fair bit during the whole episode, that locate your phone thing is very good, being able to remotely lock it is very useful. Also very useful was the guy working in the Port Erin Sure shop who was able to provide me with the IMEI number of the phone and the PUK code of the sim card. Also rediscovered that the police are really not that helpful.

 

All in all though just delighted to have got it back, no harm done.

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Good work chap, and an interesting story too.

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Glad you got it all sorted :-)

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