Even the thought of losing a mobile phone can send chills down our spine. But if someone has lost their phone or got it stolen, then luckily there are still ways to locate their device and get it tracked.
No matter how cautious or alert someone is, this can happen to anyone. But worry not, as we have some interesting things to spill for if your phone got lost/stolen. One of the best ways is to get it tracked using its IMEI number.
Fact: 70 million smartphones are lost each year, with only 7 percent recovered. 4.3 percent of company-issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year.
In this article, we are going to discuss how you can find your device’s IMEI number and how you can locate a lost or stolen phone using its IMEI number. Let’s see how.
How to Find an IMEI Number?
Before purchasing a refurbished or second-hand phone, you should know exactly what you’re buying. And whether it is secure to buy or not. Used phones sold by third-party sellers get reported as locked by the carrier services or as stolen. However, there’s a way to find out whether the second-hand phone you are buying is clean of any previous records or not, and that is, an IMEI check.
IMEI stands for International Equipment Identity. An IMEI number is a 15-digit number for each device. To make the tracking of smartphones that may get robbed, phone manufacturers and mobile carriers share the IMEI numbers of the devices. No IMEI number can be the same and every device has its own unique and individual IMEI number.
If you’ve decided to purchase a used phone from a vendor, you will need to understand how to locate and check the IMEI before activating the device on your network. Here are some methods to find your device’s IMEI number:
Dialing the number by going straight to your phone’s dialer pad is the easiest way to find your IMEI number. Here are the steps for it:
- Open the dialer of your device.
- Type *#06#, the IMEI number of your device will appear.
Open the About Section of your Device
Another easy way to find your IMEI number is to go to the About section from Settings. Follow the steps given below for the process:
- Open Settings and go to General.
- Select About.
- Now, scroll down, and you will be able to see your IMEI number.
- Go to Settings and tap on About.
Note: The About option, under which the IMEI number is located can be different depending on the device.
- Now look for Status, there you will be able to find the IMEI number.
Check the Reverse Side of your Device
Most mobile manufacturer companies provide this number on the reverse side of the phone and beside the battery.
IMEI number can also be found in the phone packaging box, and it is clearly labeled on the box with a barcode.
How to Locate Lost/Stolen Mobile via IMEI Number?
There are many phone finder apps available on Google Play, like IMEI Tracker All Phone Location & AntiTheft App, Find My Device, Find Lost Phone, SeekDroid: Find My Phone, and so on. Most of these can be activated by sending an SMS, while others support using the IMEI number. Let’s take AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location for example.
- Open Google Play and Search for the IMEI tracker.
- Then find the “AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location” app. After finding it, install the app.
Note: Make sure that your phone is running on Android 4.4 or higher.
- After finishing the installation, run the app. Grant all the permissions that the IMEI tracker App asks for (contacts, calls, storage, SMS, and location). In order to track your phone, all these permissions are necessary to be activated for full functionality.
- Now press “Continue” to move ahead after watching a short commercial.
Note: This free IMEI Tracker App contains ads that you have to watch. The ads can’t be skipped, and you will not be able to go to the next step if the video is not loaded.
- Enter the IMEI number of your lost phone, check your input, and click on “Track”.
- A small window with a list of places will appear, indicating the location and the proximity of your phone.
Note: Using the IMEI number to track the lost phone is not the only function of an IMEI tracker. To protect your device further, before the theft, there are some important anti-theft functions that you should be aware of.You can set the PIN and make sure to remember it. This way you can control the phone if it gets stolen, by sending the corresponding codes to make it give out alarms.You can also send SMS about its real-time location, sync data to the device you are using, and more.
What to Do if Your Phone Gets Lost or Stolen?
It might feel like now nothing can be done, now that your phone containing so much of your personal and professional data is stolen. But luckily, that isn’t the case. There are still some points that you should keep in mind before giving up.
- Call your phone/Use the carrier’s mobile app to send an alert
As your phone has been stolen or lost, you have but one way to do any step – use another device to call your mobile phone. However, this method is of no use if you have your phone on silent. In case you are lucky enough, and it’s on a hard surface, you will be able to hear it vibrate, so it’s worth a try. You can also make use of your carrier’s mobile app to override your ringer settings and sound an alert.
- Text on your cell phone
If you have set the settings as allowing content in text messages to display on the lock or home screen, someone who has your phone can reach you and get your phone back to you quickly. Sending a message on your mobile phone to provide instructions on how to reach you, just in case someone finds it can be pretty helpful.
- Use the built-in Find My phone feature provided on the phone
Phones have built-in security measures that allow users to track, ring, lock, or erase it remotely if they have the feature enabled. Both Android and iPhone have their own respective apps for the process. If you want to be on the safe side, always keep such apps enabled on your devices, as precaution is better than cure.
Note: On Android devices, the feature is called Find My Device™ and on an iPhone, it’s called Find My™.
- Remotely erase the data from your phone
If you are sure that your smartphone was stolen, you can remotely delete the data from your device and keep your information safe. And this has to be the first thing that you should do, once you realize that your device has been stolen. The first thing that thieves do as soon as they get a hold of their victim’s device is to remove SIM cards or use unique boxes that prevent mobile phones from being connected to cellular networks. This makes it impossible for you to wipe the device if you delay.
To Erase Data on an iPhone:
- Go to icloud.com/find on another device and log into your iCloud account.
- Click on All Devices, then choose from the list of the iPhones you want to erase.
- Click on Erase iPhone.
To Erase Data on your Samsung or Google phone:
- Go to android.com/find on another device.
- Sign in to your Google account.
- From the left-hand menu, select Erase Device.
- Lock your phone & change passwords
If your cell phone can’t be located quickly, you can use your phone’s find my phone feature to remotely lock your phone from any location. Also, make sure to take this opportunity to change the passwords on any accounts you regularly accessed or had an app for on your—especially financial accounts, email, and social media, just in case.
- Contact your mobile carrier
If you couldn’t locate your device, even after removing its data and locking it remotely, you can reach out to the carrier for your consumer cellular plan. They will disable all the cellular services to your phone, and can even mark the phone itself as unusable, even with a new SIM card or a new carrier. This will not only help to protect you but someone who may unknowingly purchase a used phone that’s been stolen.
- Alert the Police
It can’t be determined whether you will get your phone back or not, but you could potentially need a police report if you have to protest fraudulent charges made with your device.
Ans: Almost everyone carries their phone with them everywhere, and an IMEI number can be used to locate a phone’s position. And so it is possible to track someone using their device’s IMEI number.
Ans: Here are some precautionary measures that one can take in order to prevent stealing from happening:
- Try to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Keep the apps that can help in tracking your device installed on your phone.
- You can set a PIN on the tracker app for IMEI so that if it ever gets stolen, you can track it and erase the important data.