Your life is on your phone… So what do you do when you lose it?!
It has often been said that if aliens were to land on planet earth and observe the behaviour of its population, they may well conclude that we are controlled by small devices that we carry around in our hands and look at almost constantly.
And it is increasingly true that we rely on our phones more and more. Especially if you have a smartphone. Long gone are the days when you just used your phone for calls and texts. Now it is also likely to be for internet browsing, online shopping, emails, social media, photos, calendars, reminders, maps, directions, contacts . . . not to mention a vast array of apps covering almost every other area of your life.
It’s great to have so much power at your fingertips and to be able to do anything from anywhere. But what on earth would you do if you lost your phone?
Recent research indicates that on average, UK adults will lose two mobile phones in their lifetime. The most common places for this to happen are in a bar or restaurant, on public transport or dropping it in when out and about, for example the street or a park.
So losing a phone is one of those things that we know we should prepare for but somehow never get around to. We just hope that it won’t happen to us. And if it does, the phone company can sort it out, right?
Unfortunately it’s not always quite that simple. But there are things that you can do to make things easier if the worst does happen.
We’re going to take a look at:
- What you can do now that will help if your phone gets lost or stolen.
- How to protect your phone from getting lost or stolen.
- What to do if your phone gets lost or stolen.
What to do now that will help if your phone gets lost or stolen
There are three things that you can do right now, which will help you if your phone does get lost or stolen:
Backup your data
Your life’s on your phone. So back it up. Most smartphone manufacturers offer backup storage facilities, such as iCloud, Google Drive, or Samsung Cloud. It is worth taking the time to ensure that your phone is synchronised to one of these back up stores, and that you understand how often data is backed up and whether there is anything additional that you need to do manually.
Use Find My Phone
Most smartphones have an inbuilt “Find My Phone” feature. Check the settings or the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure that you enable this feature; this may involve setting up an account. Then decide which other device(s) to link the feature to so that if you do lose your phone, you can use another device to try and track where it is.
Insure your phone
If your phone is particularly valuable, or if you really couldn’t manage without it and would need an instant replacement, it is worth looking into mobile phone insurance. Many companies offer this. Some home insurance policies cover mobile phones, and some bank accounts also offer this as a benefit, so check whether you may already be covered without realising. If not, a typical cost is around £8-£9 per month.
Mobile phone insurance will cover your phone if it is lost, stolen or damaged. It means that you have someone to call on for help if the worst happens. If you do have insurance it is important to keep all the details of your device(s) up to date so that if anything does happen, there is no delay to getting things sorted.
How to protect your phone from getting lost or stolen
There are also three things that you can do to give you the best chance of not losing your phone or having it stolen. These things could also help your phone to be returned if the worst does happen:
Keep it safe
One of the simplest ways to protect your phone is to be aware of where it is at all times, and keep it safe. Unless you really need to have it out when on the move, keep it in a secure inner pocket or a closed handbag. Then it is out of sight and you know exactly where it is. This minimises the risk of dropping it or having it snatched.
Lock screen message
Many smartphones enable you to customise your lock screen. This can usually be done either through Settings or the Find my Phone feature. If your phone enables you to do this, you could put alternative contact details on the screen that someone can use if they find your phone.
Register your phone
You may not be aware, but the UK has a national property register called Immobilise. It is a database where you can register valuable items for free, and increase the chances of getting them back if they are lost and stolen.
To register your phone, you will need its IMEI number. This is a 15-17 digit identity number. You can find this out either through your phone settings or by texting #06# to reveal the number.
What to do if your phone gets lost or stolen
If the worst happens, there are three things that you can do to start getting things sorted:
Use Find My Phone
If you have enabled this feature as we mentioned earlier, you can use another device that your phone is linked to to either ping your phone or locate it on a map. If you have simply mislaid it, this can be a quick and easy way to find it.
Contact your network provider
If your initial efforts to find your phone are not successful, you need to report it missing to your network provider. Your provider will be able to cancel your phone’s SIM so that no-one else will be able to use it.
This also means that you are not at risk of having to pay for someone else’s unauthorised use of your phone. Most network providers will charge you for any use of the phone between you losing it and reporting it missing. Some will limit this to £100 if you report it within 24 hours, but the sooner you get in touch with them, the better.
So don’t delay doing this because you think you may be able to find your phone. If your phone does then turn up, your network provider will usually be able to reactivate it again for you.
Report it to your insurance company and/or the police
If you have mobile phone insurance, you need to report your phone’s loss to your insurance provider as soon as possible so they can sort out a replacement phone for you.
If your phone has been stolen you should also report this to the police either in person or by calling 101. They will give you a crime reference number, which your insurance provider is likely to need.
You may also be asked for your phone’s IMEI number, so it is a good idea to have a record of this somewhere separate. Otherwise your network provider will be able to give it to you.
We hope that the above information will help you to prepare in advance for the possibility of losing your phone, and makes things as easy as possible if that does unfortunately happen.
If anything goes wrong, and you need some extra funds to get yourself sorted, remember that Loans 2 Go offers unsecured personal loans that may help to bridge the gap.
Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Loans 2 Go.