What to do when your phone gets stolen

by Staff Writer

Posted on 19-Jul-2018

That feeling you get when you pat your pockets and the reassuring tell-tale bulge of your phone is not there. You go cold, your stomach drops and your heart stops. Fear not, our trusty How-To guide is here to help you minimize the damage.

Since the age of smartphones, we have become more reliant on our trusty phones.  For some, our whole lives are stored on them.  Banking, information, passwords and codes.  It can turn into a real nightmare if this information lands in the wrong hands. Therefore, always ensure that you have a password or code lock on your phone for added security.  Also, when you get your phone, write down the handset’s serial number and keep it safe. Or you can dial *#06# for your handset’s serial number.   Your service provider will be able to block your phone so that the thieves cannot use it, even if they swap out the sim card.

But when the unthinkable happens, you will need to take the following steps:

1.Contact your service provider.  You can do this from any other phone.  It is always a good idea to keep a card in your wallet with emergency numbers.

MTN:  Call 173 on pay as you go, or 808 on contract phones or 083 1 173 from a landline

Vodacom:  Call 111 from a cell phone or 082 111 from a landline

Cell C:  Call 140 from a Cell C network or 084 140 from other networks

8ta:  Call 182 from any cell phone

Virgin Mobile:  0741 000 123 or 123 from a Virgin Mobile Network phone.


2. If there is no security lock on your phone, and you use your phone for internet and cell phone banking, you will have to immediately inform your bank and ask them to suspend your internet and cell phone banking.  You can always reactivate it later, rather safe than sorry!

FNB:  087 575 9406, or 0800 110 132 

Absa:  0800 111 155 or 011 501 5050

Nedbank: 0800 11 0929

Standard Bank:  0800 020 600

Capitec:  0860 10 20 43


3.Report the theft to the SAPS immediately.  They will supply you with a MASS number (Case number) which will be essential if you want to institute any claim later on.  Most cell phone providers also add insurance in their contracts, and you will want to replace your mobile with the least hassle possible.  Also, it is the responsible thing to do.


4.Change all the passwords to accounts that you use on your phone.  Do this from a safe and trusted computer and not a public computer where someone can capture your information.  Always ensure that you log out of applications.


With todays technology there are also other ways to locate a lost or stolen phone.  Some of these steps may have you feeling like an internationally acclaimed hacker if you are as technologically savvy as a tree stump, like I am, but bear with me.  Here are some of the tips and tricks you can try:

1.Enabled tracking.

On iPhones, this is the “Find My Phone” function and on Android phones “Android Device Manager”.  Most phones work the same, but the basic premise is that your phones’ location will be uploaded to the cloud.  You can then log into your account and access your phone remotely.  Your phones’ GPS will have to be activated for this to work.

2.Lost Mode.

You can log in to your iCloud or Android Device Manager account and enable “Lost Mode” which basically blocks your phone.  You can unlock the handset yourself with a security code if you get the phone back.

3.Track Online.

If you have an Apple device, you can go to www.icloud.com/find and track your phone in real time.  With Android devices, go to www.google.com/android/devicemanager for your phone’s location.


4.Let it Ring.

If it is just a matter of misplacing it, or you have managed to get to your phone’s location, you can use the above websites to remotely let your phone start ringing at top volume for 5 minutes.  Quite handy!


There will also be a lot of apps available on the Google or Apple store for tracking a missing or stolen phone.  Here I would advise that free apps may not always be the best to ensure that you find a lost or stolen phone.  Rather pay a little more and see it as insurance.  There are also security apps available where your phone will take a picture after failed login attempts. 

We hope that you have found this article helpful, drop us a line in the comment section and tell us your stories of lost or stolen phones.  Stay safe!

AyobaDotCom member

Staff Writer

Research and Analysis for AyobaDotCom

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