Local May 14, 2022 | 12:47 pm

5 actions to take if your cell phone is stolen

It can happen to all of us. We are entertained away from home, we neglect the cell phone for a while, and when we check the pocket, the bag, or where we had placed it, it is no longer there.

Thieves can be skilled at stealing cell phones in the slightest moment of carelessness.

In addition to making us feel bad, the theft of a cell phone can compromise private documents and personal data and cause a hole in our savings when it comes to replacing it.

That is why we offer you some indications on what to do to avoid further damage if your mobile phone is stolen.

1. Lock the device

If your cell phone is stolen, the first step is to block the device immediately after the loss of the object, according to Emilio Simoni, a specialist in digital security and director of the dfndr Lab of the CyberLabs-PSafe group.

“It is very important to contact the operator requesting the cancellation of the chip so that the cell phone is rendered useless,” he explains. Contact channels can be found on the operators’ websites.

It is possible to do this through the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity ), an international registry that allows you to disable the cell phone more quickly. It is important to write down the code and always have it at hand.

The IMEI can usually be found on the device box or the cell phone itself.

An easy way to find out the IMEI is to type the following code on the device’s call pad: *#06#

2. Change the password of your applications

According to Simoni, you must change the password of the applications on the cell phone since other people can access them.

The IMEI is a vital code that is recommended to have written down by hand.

This is because the criminal could easily access your personal and sensitive information, such as other passwords and family contacts.

“Usually, banking apps don’t automatically authenticate. But other tools, like email and social media, allow whoever has the device to change the password  through SMS authentication,” says Simoni.

Some of these apps allow changing the password on the tool’s websites, allowing the device owner to change everything quickly.

In social networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, the password change can be done in the Security and Login sections of the platform’s websites. For example, in Gmail, the password change is located in the section about personal information.

3. Inform financial institutions

Reporting to your bank and other financial institutions is recommended for anyone whose mobile phone has been stolen.

As a result, the bank can block the application on the cell phone and possible transfers that the criminal tries to make to third-party accounts.

Crowded places are often a common destination for cell phone thieves.

Each bank has its channel for this service. They are usually available on the institution’s website. Bank phone contacts can also be found on Google.

4. Notify family and friends

Informing family and close friends about the crime is another essential task for those who have lost or had their cell phones stolen.

“Often, criminals discover the contact of relatives in messaging applications or social networks and go to them to try to scam them, asking for money or bank details,” explains Simoni.

5. File a complaint

Registering the theft of a cell phone (or any other object) by contacting the police or going to the police station is essential to prove that the crime has been committed. In addition, the police report document may be required by your bank, insurer, or authorities as proof before any management.

Notifying the police immediately and formalizing a report can be very useful in the event of any theft.

Many times, along with the cell phone, we also have identity documents that can be stolen. If we have to stay a few days without identification, having the police report on hand as proof can be very useful.

For Simoni, another benefit of the complaint is that it places on the police “the legal duty to investigate the crime.”

Although it may be difficult to recover the device, your report can help identify specific places where these crimes are being committed frequently.

In this way, public notices can be issued that alert citizens, facilitate police action, and allow more to be known about the activities of criminals.

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