Find Your Phone – Protect Your ID


I went to a meeting on Monday and silenced my work phone.  It is a “dumb” phone…just a basic flip phone which serves my needs perfectly and is the most cost-effective choice for the job. I like the fact that it is small and sleek.  I can tuck it into my purse, computer case, or a box of materials being transported. On Wednesday, I picked up my phone to make a call and noticed that I had 3 messages waiting for me on my phone.  I HAD FORGOTTEN TO TAKE THE PHONE OFF SILENT MODE!

Today, I just spent 15 minutes looking for that phone…in the nooks and crannies of my car, in my purse, in pockets…then it occurred to me to call it and see if I could hear it.  Sure enough, it was less than 2 feet away in a bag of program materials.  I don’t remember putting it there.  Thank heavens I had remembered to take it off SILENT MODE after yesterday’s meeting. Should I REALLY lose that phone, I am in no real danger of having my identity stolen…other than a list of phone numbers called, received and those in my address book, there is nothing of any real interest to a thief.

On the other hand, losing my personal phone, which is an Android phone, WOULD be a big deal. A thief could access names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, anniversary days, my schedule, probably my shopping and internet habits and much more. Unlike the “dumb” phone, I can easily find the Smart Phone even if it is on silent mode. is an online tool that helps me find my Android phone even if it is on SILENT mode. By selecting RING, my phone will ring loud enough that I can hear it buried deep in my purse, in another room under a pillow. If the phone truly is lost, this online tool will let you LOCK the phone or ERASE it remotely.  If the phone is dead, this tool will tell you where and when it was last located. Apple products have a similar online tool available as well. Check out find my iPhone.

Smart phones are expensive, portable, resalable, and concealable making them tempting and easy items to steal. The fact that it contains personal information makes it a high demand item to thieves. Educate yourself on how best to protect this asset. Check out Consumer Reports’ tips for smart phone owners: 5 Steps to Protect Your Smart Phone From Theft or Loss or watch their short video.

Brenda Schmitt

Brenda Schmitt

A Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Family Finance Field Specialist helping North Central Iowans make the most of their money.

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