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So you’ve lost or misplaced your cell phone? Don’t panic, it’s happened to the best of us. Unless you’re certain someone has stolen your cell phone, relax and start at Step 1.
Step 0: If you’re here, chances are you are probably too late to benefit from GPS location services for your phone. If you successfully recover your phone, however, you may want to look into a GPS tracking service compatible with your device in case you lose your phone again in the future. Loopt and Cactus are two such services.
Step 1: Give your cell phone a call. Especially if your phone could be set to silent (vibrate), make sure the environment where you think you may have left your phone is quiet and listen closely. If you don’t have another phone to call from, try using a free online calling service such as FreeCall.
Step 2: Retrace your steps. Try to recall the last time you remember having or using your phone. Were you in a friend’s car? At the mall? A restaurant? Try checking the lost-and-found or ask a manager if anyone has turned in a cell phone.
Step 3: Call your wireless carrier, tell them your phone has been lost, and ask them to suspend your account. This way, if someone else is in possession of your phone, they will not be able to incur expenses on your account. If you are certain someone stole your phone, contact local police.
Step 4: If you believe someone may be in possession of your phone but no one is picking up, you could try to send a text message to the phone. You can send free text messages online from any number of services such as Txt2Day.
In the text message, you can promise a reward to anyone who returns your phone. If you’re lucky, you may get a response. If you do get a response and wish to set up a time to meet to get your phone back, play it safe and be sure to meet in a public place.
Step 5: If you’ve given it some time and it’s pretty certain that your phone is gone for good, call your carrier, explain the situation, and find out the best next steps. If you need a replacement handset on the cheap, check online sites like Craigslist and Ebay for a good deal.