Tech Time: Mobile Phone Security

Let’s face it, our phones are very important to our daily lives; not just to keep on contact, but sometimes as a point of reference for key information, for pictures, music and more. Losing one’s phone can be traumatic; so let’s take a moment to look at the steps to protect our phone and our information.

Right now, I want you to find and make a note of your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Number). If your phone is lost or stolen, this 15 digit number is needed for the report.

Next, remove any personal information that you want to keep ... personal. It’s very convenient to store private pictures, passwords, TRN, bank account and other relevant numbers on your phone, but it’s equally dangerous.

Watch out for viruses. Yes, phones have viruses as well. They can access your phone through Bluetooth connections, downloaded attachments or social networking malware. Some viruses simply drain your battery while searching for new victims; others steal your address book, call history and other data.

Treat your phone as you would your wallet. Keep concealed if not in use and be aware of your surroundings when using your phone. Don’t put down your phone in public places and never let it out of your sight unless it’s on your person.

Finally, lock your SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card and your phone, separately. It can be a hassle to enter that code every time you turn on (or ever use) your phone, but well worth the effort if the phone gets stolen.

If all this fails, and your phone is actually lost or stolen, the first thing to do it to report the phone IMMEDIATELY. You are liable for ALL charges prior to being reported. Call your service provider to report the phone. If lost, request a temporary block. If you find the phone, the block can easily be lifted. If you are sure the phone is stolen, request a permanent block on the phone and the SIM.

Blocking the SIM card prevents the thief from making calls with that SIM card in any phone. Your phone number and relevant subscriber information is needed for this process. Blocking the phone prevents the thief from using that phone with any SIM card; your IMEI number is needed for this extra step.

Report your stolen phone to the police; as a citizen, you are required to report any and all criminal activity. Also, the police report may come in handy if you and your service provider get into a dispute over charges.

It will be possible to get back the same phone number, but your service provider cannot restore your data (including your contacts, images and files).

Tech tip: Use the security lock features on your phone to protect data.

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