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What to do if Your Cell Phone is Lost or Stolen

Mobile phones are a vital part of life. You may store passwords, account numbers, phone numbers, addresses all in this one device. If your phone is lost or stolen, your privacy, identity, and bank accounts could also be in jeopardy.

Cell phone carriers and manufacturers have taken steps to protect you, in these situations. The carriers manage stolen phone databases, where they can record your phone’s unique ID number when you report it missing. This makes it impossible for your lost or stolen phone to be reactivated on their network (also called “bricking”).

There are also apps available to help you locate your phone. Take steps to protect your phone’s content and your privacy:

  • Set up a PIN or password to access your phone’s home screen and settings.

  • Export and backup your sensitive information onto an external device, like a USB drive.

  • Report your lost or stolen phone to your cell phone carrier and the police immediately. Keep your cell phone provider’s phone number in a separate place so that you can report your lost phone. Ask for written confirmation from your carrier to verify that you reported your phone missing.

  • If you report your phone lost or stolen to your carrier, you are responsible for all fees incurred before you report it, but no charges after you report it missing.

  • Ask your carrier to remotely delete the content, contacts and apps on your phone.

Get more information on lost cell phones from the FCC

Learn How to Protect Your Identity

Identity thieves steal your personal information to commit fraud. They can damage your credit status and make it difficult to restore your good name.

Visit our Prevent and Report Identity Theft  page for tips on reducing your risk of becoming a victim.

No one can remove negative information from your credit report. Repair your credit and learn to recognize scams.

Criminals are using technology to their advantage to steal your bank information. Learn to protect yourself.

Learn how to set up the parental controls in your children’s video games.