You have lost a phone to thieves before. The experience is very bitter. Annoyingly, the phone will disappear without your knowledge. After the phone has grown wings, that is it and many of us scarcely do anything about it. We just move on.
Meanwhile, the phone thief is confidently using your phone calling your friends and demanding for money. Many have fallen victim to this theft. Here are seven ways to stop thieves from using your mobile phone.
1. Call your phone
If you have lost a traditional (non-smart) phone that does not have Internet connectivity, you won’t be able to track the phone online and will have to use other methods. Begin by calling the phone. If you are lucky, the person who stole your phone may answer.
Alternately, if your phone has simply been misplaced (e.g. on a taxi seat or a subway car), someone may answer who can meet you at a location to exchange the phone.
If you call your phone and someone answers, say “Hello, this is [your name], and you’re holding my cell phone. The phone is important to me and I need to get it back; is there a location where we can meet and exchange the phone?”
2. Text the phone
Even if no one answered when you called your phone, it is still worth texting it. The thieves may eventually change their mind and decide to return the phone to you, its owner.
Send a brief text that provides your contact information and asks for the phone to be returned. If you think it will help, you can also promise a reward to the individual if they return your phone.
To do this, you will need access to another smartphone. Ask a friend to borrow his. If you are not near a friend, a kind stranger may allow you to borrow their cell phone to text yours.
3. Take safety measures if you meet to exchange the phone
If someone, whether or not it is the thief who initially took your phone, agrees to meet with you to give your phone back to you, take safety precautions. Arrange to meet with the individual in a public place, such as a city square or transit station and during daylight hours. If possible, don’t go alone; bring a friend with you for the sake of companionship and safety. Ask your friend to bring their phone, so that they can call the police if anything illicit happens.
Even if the individual returning your phone sounds friendly over the phone (or over text), you should still plan to take precautionary measures.
4. Block the SIM card
Most times, the SIM card is the first thing thieves get rid of when they steal your phone. Others do not bother to remove it but they won’t pick your calls. Since you are using your phone to perform all sorts of transactions, you should contact your service provider immediately to block it.
5. Lock it
You can simply set up a password that will prevent others from using your phone. The code will be activated when an unauthorised person accesses it. In some cases, when you lock it, it will render the phone completely unusable.
6. Use your phone’s built-in features
There are phone features that you can activate to prepare your phone for any theft. On Android phones, you can use the Android Device Manger. You can access the manager online and it will help you locate your phone. On iOS, you have to set up ‘Find my phone’ feature. You can use it to find, text and wipe your device. You can do all these when the phone is switched on.
7. Insure your phone
For Nigerians who use expensive phones, they can insure it. The insurance firm will replace it. You don’t need to worry about your device being stolen. But that doesn’t mean you should be careless.