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How to Find Your Stolen Phone

April 6, 2017

Having your phone stolen is a frustrating and difficult experience. Whether you’re at home or traveling abroad somewhere, it’s important that you try as soon as possible to recover the stolen phone. Current cell phones and smartphones can be recovered through the use of a tracking app, or by a pre-installed tracking program. These apps and programs have varying levels of practicality, and some require your phone to be on and connected to the internet. You can also find a missing phone manually, by calling or texting the number and retracing your steps.

Method 1: Reclaiming Your Missing Phone

1 Call your phone.
If you’ve lost a traditional phone that does not have internet connectivity, you won’t be able to track the phone online and will have to use other methods. Begin by calling the phone. If you’re lucky, the person who stole your phone may answer. Alternately, if your phone has simply been misplaced, someone may answer who can meet you at a location to exchange the phone.

2 Text the phone.
Even if no one answered when you called your phone, it’s still worth texting it. The thief may eventually change their mind, and decide to return the phone to you, its owner. Send a brief text that provides your contact information and asks for the phone to be returned. If you think it would help, you could also promise a reward to the individual if they return your phone.
To do this, you’ll need access to another cell phone. Ask a friend to borrow theirs. If you’re not near a friend, a kind stranger may allow you to borrow their cell phone to text yours.

3 Take safety measures if you meet to exchange the phone.
If someone-whether or not it’s the thief who initially took your phone-agrees to meet with you to give your phone back to you, take safety precautions. Arrange to meet with the individual in a public place-such as a city square or transit station-during daylight hours. If possible, don’t go alone; bring a friend with you for the sake of companionship and safety. Ask your friend to bring their phone, so that they can call the police if anything illicit happens.

Even if the individual returning your phone sounds friendly over the phone (or over text), you should still plan to take precautionary measures.

Method 2: Notifying Authorities and Your Service Provider

1. Contact the authorities. 
If you inform the police that your phone has gone missing, they may be able to provide limited assistance locating it and they Track IMEI Number. Call 911, or the non-emergency police number, to contact your local police office. Local law enforcement will likely ask you for the serial number for your phone. The Android ID number functions as a serial number; you can find your Android ID by removing the battery from the back of your phone and looking beneath. The Android ID will be a series of numbers preceded by the identifier IMEI Number (International Mobile Equipment Identity).

2. Alert your service provider.
If you’ve called your phone and looked for it without results, you need to call your phone service provider and inform them that your phone has been stolen. The service provider may be able to run a GPS search to locate your missing phone.
If a GPS search is not an option-or if the results are fruitless-ask your service provider to suspend service to your phone. This will prevent the thief from making phone calls and potentially racking up an expensive phone bill.

3. Look for the phone in person. 
Think back to where you may have been when your phone was stolen, and then retrace your steps in that area. The thief may have quickly changed their minds after taking your phone and, if you’re lucky, may have dropped the phone within a few hundred yards of where they stole it.
Walk through places where you spent time before your phone was stolen, and continue calling your phone while looking for it

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