Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smartphone – 2

Today marks day 3 without my phone. I carelessly lost my phone on Saturday and the person who retrieved it started using it. They downloaded three apps that cost money and started texting a California number. I call that theft. Rather than take the phone to the police department as a lost item they took what was not theirs and called it their own. That is stealing.

At any rate, I put in a claim to the insurance company and have to wait until it was shipped, so I was without over the holiday weekend and yesterday and of couse since I am work during the day I won't get to charge it and activate it until later. Of course, because it’s a smart phone that means that I was afraid that someone could get my personal information on the device. So I spent a sleepless night on Saturday changing passwords on everything I could think I had on the phone after suspending the service and calling to deny the charges for the downloaded apps and the text messages from the time it was lost until it was shutdown. Of course I didn’t have a password protection on the phone. I know, that was “my bad”, and my own stupid fault if they were able to get anything.

I am having withdrawals. There are so many things that I normally do on that phone aside from just the phone aspect of it. Since I cannot get to Facebook at work, I use it on my phone so I can see what is going on and send birthday greetings to those friends who are celebrating birthdays. I like having access to the Weather Bug app so I can see the forecast and the pollen count, which will determine if I will be able to ride my bike after work. I don’t have my tracking app so I can’t track my bike ride to see how far I rode and what my average speed was. My calendar and my task list are on my phone so I have to wait until I get to a computer to be able to check if I have appointments in the evening and if there are any pressing things to do. Even looking at the time of day is an issue since I don’t usually wear a watch. Fortunately, since I have the Droid, all of it is saved to the “cloud” so I really didn’t lose any data and I can go to the computer to find it.

If you have a Droid, or other Smartphone, learn from my mistake. At the very least password protect your phone. I did find some cool apps that can help in the future. There is a nifty website that lists so great apps. These apps can do a number of things like locate, lock, and wipe your phone if it gets stolen. I had Lookout but that didn’t really help and thought I didn’t need to password lock my phone with that. But I guess you really do get what you pay for and that app was free. If you do realize it’s stolen, immediately lock it. I waited too long and the phone was turned off. While you are at it remote wipe it. Chances are you aren’t getting it back anyway so if you do that soon, you will halt the possibility of someone seeing your personal data. Change your passwords to all the apps like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and others that your phone accesses, as they could get in and hack your accounts. Finally call your provider and suspend your account. They will report the phone as lost or stolen and no one will be able to reactivate it. Might as well make it difficult for the thief and not allow him to make money on selling it, and they won't be able to make any more calls or download anything to your phone with the number suspended.

As great as technology is, when one is tied to it and don’t use it as it should be used, it can be an albatross around the neck. A little bit of preparedness could have eased my mind in this situation., and I hope you don’t have to go through this.

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