Losing your cell phone can create a plethora of problems. The stored data such as your contacts, credit card numbers, passwords, and other valuable info could fall into a crook's hands and be used for all kinds of evil schemes, including identity theft. Finding your tech life-line if the ringer is off can be quite problematic, but fortunately not impossible. Read on to discover how a lost cell phone on silent can be found.
• BE PREPARED
ACTION ITEM: Get all of the serial, model, SIM, product, and item numbers
Preparation is the key to handling any emergency, including locating your lost cell phone. Keep your cell phone's serial number written down in a secure location. You can find it under the battery compartment cover, or check your owner's manual for the location. Come to think of it, you should collect the ID numbers of all your electronic/digital gear in case of loss or theft.
If you have never bothered jotting down any of these digits you can also look them up online where all other account and phone data is displayed, or you can request the info from your mobile service provider at a local store.
There's also a pile of lost socks somewhere.
So don’t waste another minute and write down those numbers now. This will speed up the process of reporting your phone as lost or stolen and get it in the missingphones.org database if you cannot find it. Also report it to your service provider since most phone companies share their blacklists so that lost or stolen phones won't work with any provider even if the SIM card gets replaced.
• SEARCH AND RESCUE
ACTION ITEM: Retrace your steps, leave nothing out, and check under your feet
Keep losing it and you'll need
to get one of these patches.
Start with the basics. Try to remember the last time you saw or used your phone. Check all your "regular" spots like a favorite chair, car, or office thoroughly and retrace your steps. Memory research suggests recollection can be improved by taking your usual position in the usual spots, essentially recreating scenarios that may have led to the loss. Double-checking might be a good idea, too, since we often can’t see the forest for the trees. Ever looked for your sunglasses only to find them on your head?
• GIVE THE SPY IN THE SKY A TRY
ACTION ITEM: Your phone likely has GPS, so put it to work
You can find places while others can find you.
Even if consumers don't activate the system, most modern cell phones are equipped with GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. GPS tracking takes information from satellites and the phone system to calculate increasingly accurate positions of individual cell phones. Both real-time and historical data can be analyzed.
If you regularly use your phone's GPS feature your mobile service provider might be able to help you by checking the current location of your phone.
Satellites used to be scary. Now one of their main
duties is directing people to pizza parlors and movies.
Even with GPS enabled, there is no guarantee that you will be able to retrieve your phone since tracking only works within a 30-feet radius and the phone must be turned on to send a signal. Sometime in the near future, a newly tested Japanese system might improve your odds by increasing the accuracy to about an inch.
• THE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS
ACTION ITEM: Use the software on your phone, or other apps and tools, to find it
Connect the right software to the right hardware and find your phone.
Certain applications on your phone might help you find it if you install them prior to the loss or theft. If you have an Android phone, software like Mobile Defense offers phone tracking in addition to memory backup, remote locking, and "wipe" services.
BlackBerry users should install the Berry Locator for $6.95. This works much the same way, by showing you the phone's location on any PC in a Web-accessed map. It also makes your BlackBerry go off with the loudest ring and strongest vibration even if you left in silent mode, which makes finding it a lot easier.
Hit the button, find the phone – or blow it up (figuratively speaking).
Microsoft thought about the lost phone problem, too, and Windows Phone users can avail themselves of the My Phone synchronization service. For $4.99 you get three shots at locating it, but the location that is revealed will be where the phone was when it last synced your data.
• HIGH- AND LOW-TECH ALTERNATIVES
ACTION ITEM: Call the phone while carrying a boombox, use a metal detector, pray
You can get metal detectors at all price points.
If you think the phone is in the house, or another enclosed area, get an old boombox and walk around with the radio on after calling the phone. It won't ring on silent, of course, but the boombox may pick up the interference and give you an audio "trail" to follow. If the phone may be in your yard or other outdoor area, consider getting a metal detector. Make a thorough sweep through the suspected locations. If you believe in prayer, try that, too.
Young people have a unique way to avoid the whole
problem, and it has to do with their ears. Really.
There are a number of ways, as discussed above, to prepare your phone for possible loss. There is one particularly interesting solution for young people. Instead of using the silent setting, young people under 30 can download the so-called "mosquito" sound that is inaudible to older people. They (and other young folks) can hear the "ring" but others cannot. Might work, right?
Since mobile phones are among the five most frequently misplaced items, losing it can cause all kinds of stress. Ultimately, it can result in even bigger problems such as identity theft or outrageously high phone bills due to unauthorized use. Prepare yourself for this kind of emergency by using the tips above, and make a habit of keeping your phone in a designated location to avoid simply misplacing it.
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