Lost your wallet? Your phone’s missing? Or is it your laptop that you’ve misplaced? Keep calm – these tips will minimise the impact, and the panic.

Lost items

Don’t panic: here’s what to do when these items go missing. Image: Getty Images

PHONE

Take Precautions

  • Back up your contacts. Android phone users can do it on Gmail, Blackberry users can use the Blackberry Desktop Manager and iPhone users, iTunes or iCloud.
  • Get Find My Phone or Norton Mobile Security apps (for Android phones) or Find My iPhone app (for iPhones). These show your phone’s location on another phone, and can even lock or erase your personal data on it. Keep your GPS setting switched on for the apps to work.

If You’ve Lost It…

  • Call the telco immediately to deactivate the line and get a new SIM card.
  • Make a police report to deter thieves from selling your phone in Singapore. The police will list your phone’s IMEI number into the Handphone IMEI Tracing System (HITS) database. Someone who checks this list on the Singapore Police Force website will then know the used phone they are intending to buy is a lost or stolen phone.

 

WALLET

Take Precautions

  • Make two photocopies of all the cards you have in your wallet. Keep one at home, and one in the office.
  • Make a list of the hotlines to report loss of ATM and credit cards. Keep this list at home, in the office, and on an online cloud service like Google Docs.

If You’ve Lost It…

  • File a Singapore police report if you suspect that someone has stolen your wallet. You’ll need the report if you’re applying for a replacement identity card and a driving license.
  • Cancel your ATM and credit cards as soon as you can. Check if there are any unauthorised transactions made after you lost your wallet. Notify the banks and credit card companies immediately if there are – they have different policies on the liability for these charges.

 

LAPTOP

Take Precautions

  • Back up your data in an external hard drive weekly and keep it separately from your laptop, or use online storage services like Dropbox or Sugarsync.
  • Download Prey, a free program that tells you your laptop’s location by using its GPS or the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot when it’s switched on. It can even send you a snapshot of the person using your laptop, taken with the webcam.

If You’ve Lost It…

  • Make a Singapore police report and include your laptop’s serial number.
  • Change your passwords for important online accounts – banks, e-mails, social networks, and for online purchases. Tech-savvy thieves can get to these through your browser history to access your information or make unauthorised purchases.

 

This article was originally published in Simply Her June 2012.