Advice / Leadership / Op-Ed / Technology/Marketing/Interest

Lost a BlackBerry – What Do I Do?

Two weeks ago, I had to endure this horrifying situation. Should you ever have to go through such an unfortunate situation, here’s a post that will ensure that your privacy is untouched. (To the best of my knowledge)

For those who know me, my BlackBerry is an important part of my life, but NOT MY LIFE. (Yes, it’s now in writing.) All kidding aside, there were two things that  I needed to address immediately:

  1. Excessive calling charges (carrier side. aka. Your SIM card.)
  2. Personal files on my BlackBerry (manufacture side)
With BlackBerry Protect

If you are fortunate to have the BlackBerry Protect application installed on your device, your first instinct would be to turn on the GPS and track the device. Secondly, you’d place a message on your welcome/unlock screen. If you backed up your ‘Berry recently, you’d go to the length of wiping your device remotely… but of course, you’d only do this if you knew it wasn’t within walking distance to you.

Without BlackBerry Protect

In the case that your handset does not have BlackBerry Protect, I am sure you already called it. (This was likely the first thing you did.) If:

  • It rings — you’re semi safe. (You might have it on silent and just can’t hear it or the person who has it is not picking up)
  • It doesn’t ring — its been taken and turned off (the intent of the collector is not to return it) or your battery has been drained.

If you have an older device, where BlackBerry Protect does not come with it installed or you have a limited data plan and you wouldn’t have been able to turn on the GPS anyways, you realize you’re in a little bit of an unfortunate situation. From my understanding, if your device is wiped, BB Protect is also wiped from the device… so your tracker will really mean nothing. (Correct me if I’m wrong and you have an alternate solution to this.) If your battery is drained, you’re also out of luck. Perhaps devices need some kind of internal back up battery that you can access remotely to turn on your device?

Nevertheless, here’s the situation: your BlackBerry is gone, you call it and it’s turned off, and you call the place you may have left and it is not there. You do not have BlackBerry Protect and you even return to where you last saw it and retracte your steps, but it is not there. Now what?

Action Plan

  1. Do not panic (It’s not the end of the world. Really!)
  2. Call your carrier — Ask them to block your SIM and note the time/when you lost it. (*Note you may have to be the account holder to do this) This allows them to delete charges that are not yours. You may also want to ask: if you have incurred any charges since you lost it and if they can track when/where the last call was made.
  3. Assess your situation and options.This is a good time to re-evaluate your contract, if you are on one. Depending on where you are in your contract and your personal preference, these questions may change. Talk to a manager (frontline people at call centres cannot do very much):
    1. How many months do you have left on your contract?
    2. Where can you get a back up phone? How much is an upgrade to your current phone?
    3. Does your carrier offer a loner service? (unlikely for lost or stolen phones, however)
    4. Are you able to pause your contract at all?
    5. Are you up for a new device and a new contract? Just a new device?
    6. How much would it cost you to cancel your plan or certain features? (based on your personal preference moving forward, of course)
    7. *Mention your current data plan is quite expensive, compared to competitors you’ve been looking at. (Note: If it’s been awhile since you’ve done this, chances are you’ll save yourself some money. I saved $120 with just one comment!)
  4. Purchase a replacement SIM card. These are ~$10 depending on your carrier and can be used in any unlocked phone or a phone by your carrier. Plans will work the same (Data service may vary if using your plan on a non-smartphone.)
  5. Call RIM’s CSO Team1 888 746 5831). They *might* be able to help you “disconnect your PIN from the Network” (From my understanding, this is a service that can be offered for enterprise clients, but not for consumer-side). It doesn’t hurt to try.
  6. Get a BlackBerry (Locked or Unlocked). Either your friend has one or you have one as back up. You can try kijiji or craigslist if you don’t mind purchasing one from a stranger. OR you can probably get an upgrade (from your carrier) on your existing phone.
  7. Find someone to unlock your phone (*If you get a locked device) This will cost you around $10-15, usually, so it won’t break the bank and you should most likely be able to use any SIM card in the device afterwards.

Nowadays, people can tamper with the software of devices. You can lock/unlock phones, jailbreak, change your PIN, modify/re-engineer devices so that your original device is internally completed different. If you don’t already have a password protection for your device, I’d get on it ASAP. It’s the easiest preventative measure. Next, get a holster or even a cell phone strap. I know they might look dorky or bulky, but it does the trick. Lastly, just take a higher precaution. (Especially when you’re ill.)

That’s all for now! While I’m at it, I want to give a HUGE shout out to friends for helping me with the process. You all made it as smooth as possible. I was able to get the process done in a combined total of 3 days. I hope you found this useful.

-tyw

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