I was working as a Red Carpet Host during a fashion event when my mobile device was stolen, along with that of many others who were at the event. It seems that it’s a trend for thieves to show up at events in Accra and steal digital devices from unsuspecting victims. It happens at large scale events, weddings and even funerals. The criminals wait for people to not be paying attention. Your phone may be charging, sitting in your purse, coat pocket or on the table.
As I was interviewing celebrities and guests of the event, my phone was charging in an area where models, artists, performers and others working the event had their items backstage. My instincts told me not to leave it there, but after much urging from someone who was working with me of the safety because there was security and everyone working the event had been charging devices there all day, I obliged and left it charging along with several other people. Big Mistake!
Within minutes of me doing a few interviews and then deciding I want to get my phone, it was gone. I was mortified and so upset I actually cried. Not because of the device itself, but because of all the content on the device. I had a large portion already backed up on my Dropbox, but everything over the previous few weeks had not been backed up. Some of that was important. You see, I use Microsoft Word and Excel on my device. It wasn’t just pictures, but also work. I also had some scripting I had written. I was devastated.
Well, we use our phones for practically everything these days don’t we? They’re not just for phone calls anymore. In the end, I learned some big lessons from the experience. You may already know this, but it’s a good reminder to get into the habit of doing these things so if you’re ever faced with a lost or stolen device, you can attempt to get it back.
Trust Your Gut
I should have listened to my gut when I was uncomfortable leaving my device.
Leave Your GPS On
I know, it feels like someone is spying on you all the time because you can easily be tracked. But, imagine your phone is lost, stolen or you just don’t remember where you put it in your own home. When you use your Android Device Manager you can easily locate your phone, but only if the GPS is turned on.
For iPhone users you can use the Find My Phone app to locate your device.
Activate a Password
That way if someone finds the phone or steals it, they can’t use it. Those first few minutes when you realize it’s missing are crucial because you can quickly locate the phone before they either hack and use it or worse, turn it off so you can’t find it.
Download Software That Can Control Your Phone Remotely
There is actually software that will take photos and allow you to track calls and texts made using your device when it’s gone.
Back Up Everything of Value
Always back up! Back up! Back up! Nothing worse than losing everything. This applies not only to a stolen device, but also if it stops working. I know a woman who said she no longer has any images of her son from age five and under because her phone broke and now she has nothing. She had to start asking friends to send any images she shared with them over the years.