Security

How to recover a stolen Android phone

Did you know that approximately one in every three smart phones are lost or stolen? That’s right; the odds are that you probably know at least one person who has had a cell phone stolen at some point in their life.

If you have an Android phone, you might be wondering how to recover your stolen phone if this happens to you. Below are some tips on how to get your device back if it ever goes missing.

Find My Phone

When your smartphone is stolen, you’ll want to ensure it can’t be used by anyone else.

The first step is to log into Google and activate its Find My Phone feature (you can log in here). This will help prevent someone from accessing your contacts, photos or any other sensitive information stored on your device.

Your Google account will also allow you to remotely wipe any personal data from your phone. Go here for more information about what happens when a lost or stolen smartphone is reported. To locate your missing smartphone, simply log into Find My Phone on Google and click on Devices, which will reveal a list of all phones linked with that account. Clicking on a particular device will display its current location.

If it isn’t nearby, you can make your handset ring at full volume so you can easily find it—even if it’s on silent mode.

You’ll also have access to options like Erase Device and Lock Device, which let you remove all content from your phone and lock down access to only those people who know your unlock code. That way, if someone gets their hands on your phone without knowing the code, they won’t be able to access anything important.

Use Google Account

If you use an Android device, you should enable find my device from your Google account settings. If someone steals your phone, they won’t be able to access much of your data, but having find my device enabled makes it easier for you to recover your device if it ever goes missing.

This will also enable Google’s other theft-recovery features like remote locking and wiping your data. Getting in touch with Google (or whomever made your device) is another way of recovering your lost or stolen Android phone. However, if an employee at that company wants to help you out (and there are good reasons why they might not), getting in touch with them directly is probably more useful than contacting Google directly.

Call your network provider

Make sure your carrier is aware of what happened. If you’re like most people, you probably bought your phone with a two-year contract.

That means you can likely get it replaced at no cost—no questions asked. It might take some sleuthing (your provider will need proof that it was actually stolen), but it’s worth a shot. And if they won’t help, contact Google or Samsung directly.

Most modern smartphones have built-in software that lets users locate their phones remotely and either wipe them completely or lock them down so that no one else can use them. You might have to pay for these features on your own, but once installed, they should work regardless of whether your device is connected to its network.

Call the police

If you’ve had your phone for several years, you likely have all of your contacts and other data stored there. The last thing you want is for all of that data to fall into someone else’s hands.

Call your local police department right away and let them know what has happened. They can put out an alert that will let other departments know that your device was stolen and should be considered dangerous. While they may not be able to recover it, they can help keep it out of harm’s way.

You should also contact your wireless provider so that they can disable service on your phone and block any attempts to use it. You don’t want someone using your phone to make calls or send texts from your number! Finally, change any passwords associated with Google services like Gmail and Hangouts as well as social media accounts linked with those services.

Those are good places for scammers to start fishing for personal information about you or trying to get access to more accounts (like bank accounts).

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