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What to do when your phone is lost

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What to do when your phone is lost: know your options to minimize disaster

In the olden days, losing -- or misplacing -- one's cell was a minor headache. You'd lose your contacts and text message history. But you'd be able to quickly replace your missing device and move on with your day.

Jump forward now to our technologically advanced and wondrous world of today. With Blackberry's, iPhones, and other such "smart" devices, it's a different story. Along with text messages, contacts, and the such, there can also be personal and financial information stored in applications in memory.

So, what to do when your phone is lost? Below, let's take a look at some precautionary measures to take before such a cataclysmic event can take place. And if it does occur, let's find out the best ways in which to find your device before it's too late!

It could just be under that couch cushion -- Wait... It is. Whoops. For everyone else, keep reading!

Proper Steps to Take Beforehand

While insurance against lost or stolen items can be a good idea, it won't in fact bring back your data. To combat this -- as often as you feel comfortable -- back up your cell files onto your home computer. By doing this, you'll save yourself much hassle in the process.

When you get home with your new device, be sure to write down its IMEI, MEID, or ESN number. This can be found on the sticker underneath the battery and it can be given to the police or your carrier. It provides a unique identifier and one can even register this number with, an online recovery service which works to locate missing devices.

And once you purchase your new mobile, it's always a good idea to input password protection. By doing this, you add a nice protective layer against thieves -- and snoopy friends -- to keep them from accessing bank accounts, emails, contacts, apps, and more.

Applications Can Make All the Difference In The World

Applications may play the largest role in whether or not you find your misplaced device. Many will offer real-time location tracking and even the opportunity to remotely wipe your cell in case it's stolen. Here are a few solid programs:

  • Blackberry: Blackberry Protect is a free app will help you find your missing or stolen mobile by locating it on a map. Berry Locator -- which is a pay service running $6.95 -- can also be helpful.
  • iPhone: Find My iPhone will allow users to use another iOS device to find their missing cell.
  • Android:  Prey will allow the user to track not only their cell, but their laptop and tablet devices. Mobile Defense is another program which offers tracking, remote lock, and even backup and wipe services -- It's also currently free to use.

What Happens After You've Misplaced It?

Here are a few ideas -- courtesy of the Huffington Post and PC Magazine -- for ways in which to recover your missing property in case of a lack of location apps on your cell:

    • Try contacting your cell: Use a home line, someone else's device, or Skype in order text or call your missing mobile. According to the experts, you may even offer a small reward for it's return.
    • Call your carrier: You should do this after retracing your steps and having tried step 1 above. If these haven't worked, it's time to call and suspend your service. If it is indeed stolen, thieves or other ill-minded individuals could get personal information from the device and even use it to rack up a staggering cell bill that could come as a pretty big surprise on your next monthly bill!
    • Pray -- Just joking.

    Do know that if you've installed the correct apps and taken the precautionary measures necessary things will most likely turn out for the better. While others are tearing out their hair, you can sit, relax, and (hopefully) reunite with your mobile in no time. For even more information on family locator services for Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, head over to the PC Magazine website.

    So, what to do when your phone is lost? Follow these helpful guidelines above and the potential catastrophe molds itself into only a slight bump in the road. You'll be back to playing Angry Birds in no time.

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