International travelers can feel that their vacation is ruined if they suddenly find themselves missing their cell phone. It's not unusual that after enjoying a meal at a local restaurant or getting out of a taxi, the traveler finds they are missing one key item—their cell phone.
A smartphone is more than a device used to make phone calls. Phones also double as a GPS, map, camera, digital translator, and so much more. From our fingertips, we can immediately access a world of information including our e-mail and phone contacts, social media accounts, banking information, tickets, and reservations—which can all be lost in an instant, due to being forgetful or falling victim to a crafty pickpocket.
Those who lose a cell phone while traveling abroad should not start panicking. Instead, it is entirely possible to be reunited with a lost cell phone, or (at the very least) protect the information on the phone. If your cell phone goes missing, start your search with these tips.
Retrace Your Steps
Immediately think about where you last had your phone. For example: if you last remember having your cell phone at a restaurant, try contacting or re-visiting the restaurant to see if it was found. If you last remember having the phone in a taxi, try contacting the taxi company to see if it was recovered.
If you are not sure where you lost it, text or call your phone. It might just have fallen in the cushions of the couch you were sitting on.
If no one has found the phone, the next step may include using a tracking application to see if the phone can be found.
Apps for Finding Your Phone
Android offers Google’s proprietary service for finding and managing your phone remotely as well as third-party apps like Find My Device. Apple provides a similar service. You'll need to sign in to your iCloud account on a computer or use the Find My iPhone app on another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
It is recommended that you become familiar with these applications before you travel and have your cloud password memorized or in a location separate from your phone.
If the tracking app does work but your phone is not in a place you recognize, do not attempt to recover the lost cell phone on your own. Instead, contact local law enforcement authorities for help.
Reporting the Lost Phone
If recovering a lost cell phone is out of the question, the next step is to report your loss to the cell phone provider by email or by using a phone at your hotel, for example. By contacting your phone provider, access to the lost cell phone can be cut off, potentially preventing fraudulent charges to the phone owner's account.
Once this is complete, the next step is to file a report with the local authorities for the missing phone. Many hotels can help travelers work with local police to report a crime. In addition, a police report may be required if you plan on filing a travel insurance claim for the lost cell phone.
Remotely Wipe Data Off Your Cell Phone
One of the best features of cell phone security software is the ability to control data remotely. With both Android and Apple apps, users can remove their data when a lost cell phone is connected to the internet. Those who are certain that their cell phones are gone and lost forever can prevent personal information from falling into the wrong hands with a remote data wipe.
In addition, there are many steps you can take to protect your data before leaving on your next adventure. Experts suggest setting a strong password and using security apps to make sure your data remains safe. Also, since you'll want to recover data when you purchase your replacement phone, routinely back up your data to your cloud account.