Financial Resource Center


What to Do if You Lose Your Smartphone

by Center for Personal Finance editors / November 18th, 2013

You've misplaced your phone. That gut-wrenching feeling starts to sink in. Your phone is your lifeline; everything's on it from contacts to appointments to finances. Focus, stay calm, and follow these steps to make finding your phone a realistic possibility:
  • Call your phone. Use a landline or another phone to call your phone. Someone may answer who is wanting to return it to you. You also might find that it's not lost at all but that it dropped between the cushions, is in your car, or is buried in your purse or bag.
  • Use your phone's location services app ASAP. Use the app on another device to help locate your phone.
  • Call places you've recently been. It's possible you inadvertently left your phone at the grocery store, club, or library. Backtrack steps from the last time you used your phone. Possibly it's still sitting at a table at a restaurant or you left it in the locker room.
  • Call the police. Turned-in phones often are left unclaimed because people assume nobody will turn them in. Contacting the police also will generate a police report, which will help if you'll be submitting an insurance claim.
  • Call your provider. Explain that your phone is either lost or stolen. By providing a time and date for the last time you used your phone, your carrier can investigate to see if someone else is using it. Then ask your provider to disable features and remove data from your phone. This will lock your phone and prevent thieves from using your phone and your personal information.
  • Cancel or change passwords and login information for sites that you use on your phone for social networking and financial account access.
  • Remotely wipe data once you've ensured that you've backed up data.
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