How to stop thieves accessing your cell phone

Cell phones are just vulnerable. They are hand held, can be snatched, left on counters in shops, drop out your pocket or you might just lose it under the load of washing.

If someone has taken your phone you can protect it and make it really inaccessible and in so doing, protect all your personal information and your contacts.

To ease the stress of a theft of a loss, there are several ways to make sure no one can get into your handset and you could even track it down to that washing pile : )

The first step is to make sure you have a password to protect your phone. It won’t keep a very determined thief out forever, but it’s wise to have a lock screen with a keycode, a password or even more sophisticated face recognition and finger print scanning. This is the first step you should take against a hacker and your private data.  It seems up to 60% of all cell users do not have a password of any kind to protect themselves in the event of a theft.

You can also register your phone for tracking.  Most smartphones today allow the user to track them if they go missing. It has to be set up beforehand though .  As of September this year all Android phoned include a Device Manager which is included when they get their google account. This is easy to set up and use on a daily basis.

Apple cell phone users will have to register with FindMyiPhone using their iCloud account in much the same manner . In both cases you will be able to set a password remotely , lock it and force the phone to play a ring at the loudest volume for one minute so you can find it. In the worst case scenario you will be able to erase the information on the device completely if it has been stolen. This then can also be done remotely.

Make sure important data is backed up. All your vital contacts, text messages, appointments, emails and other data stored on a phone that would be awkward to replace if it was lost or stolen. Even if you don’t consider yourself at risk due to any potentially sensitive information,  you would still need to reinstall all your apps and contacts which in itself is time consuming. While modern security suites can help with this, most software provided with a phone is also capable of backing up key information to a computer. Do it. Before you regret it. also has come into the fray allowing easy identification of a phone if it is recovered.  The service is free and you have to enter the serial number of your phone. Then when and if the phone is found you have a record of it saved and secured.  If this number is registered with all you do is notify them and it goes to a blocked list where no thief will be able to use the phone without reprogramming it.

Sophos also provides an interesting feature for virus and security which you can access remotely.  This free application will also inform you if your SIM card has been changed.

When reporting your phone lost or stolen you will probably need to give an IMEI and/or serial number of your phone to either an insurance company or the police. This number can be found by entering the following : #06# onto the dial screen of the cell phone

The serial number can usually be located under the battery compartment. If you can’t find either of these easily your service provider should have this information on record.


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