When I was a college student, I knew to be careful about keeping an eye on my phone — I had heard the stories, getting mugged at a club, forgetting your phone in the library, etc. — but I had no idea how serious it was until it actually happened to me. Did you know that over 100 smartphones are lost or stolen every single minute just in the United States? If only I had known then what I know now: that smart phones sell for an average of $800 on the global black market, or that 40% of thefts in US cities involve smartphones, I just would have been way more cautious.
Sadly, I had to learn the hard way, as you’ll soon see with my cautionary tale. But maybe it isn’t too late for you! Protecting your smartphone, tablet and laptop devices with Absolute LoJack not only ensures that your device will most likely be found and returned to you, but it can also lock and protect your device, or delete any important personal information for you so whoever stole it or finds it can’t take something more serious, like your identity. If you use Absolute LoJack to protect your phone, all you have to do is report your device stolen and the Absolute LoJack team will monitor its activity for you to help you find out where it is, who has, giving you the opportunity to determine how you can get it back (you can read more about that here.) And while not all devices (iPhones aren’t!) are supported by Absolute LoJack itself, every device can be protected with Absolute Data Protect which, at the very least, will get rid of all your important information when your phone goes missing.
If you’ve never lost your smartphone before, it’s time to listen up and heed my warnings, for this story is a scary one. Here is the story of the night my phone was stolen while I was studying abroad.
It was an actual dark and stormy night… but I had no idea just how dark it would indeed get…
Studying abroad had been perfect so far. Rome had been perfect. Perhaps… too perfect. I was nearing the end, just one month left, and this night was, from the very beginning, set to be the glorious peak of the semester… This was the night of the Fun. concert. I had bought my ticket for before even leaving the States — by the time I had met my roommates the show was sold out. So I attended alone, splurged, got myself a nice taxi ride out, and brought money for a taxi home too. The venue was on the outskirts of Rome, considerably out of the way of any public transportation that I was familiar with.
The show went beautifully. Just as I had imagined. It didn’t matter that I was alone, and it didn’t matter that few around me spoke any English at all. All I could think about was how badly I wanted to be Jack Antonoff’s guitar. I would never have guessed that something so horrendous was about to happen.
I decided to go outside before calling for my cab home. Even after the lights came on, it’s nearly impossible to hear anything when surrounded by Italian teenagers. “I’ll just wait until I get outside…I needed to remind myself of the street name anyway,” I thought. So I walked down to the corner, figuring it’d be easier for me to speak Italian with the taxi company if I was further away from the noise. The club was along a now quiet highway that runs through an otherwise rural area. After putting some distance between myself and the quickly dispersing crowd I went to make the call. That’s when it happened. My. Phone. Was. Not. In. My. Bag.
Maybe it’s in one of my pockets?! THIS OUTFIT DOESN’T HAVE ANY POCKETS. NOT ONE. NOT ONE SINGLE POCKET.
I turned back to the venue only to find that everyone was gone. One by one the outside lights went out. I retraced my steps the best I could in the dark, desperately searching the ground.
My precious darling was also no where to be found in the club. The bartenders were nice enough to look with me, and we checked every inch of the place for what must have been an hour to no avail. Then, with genuine empathy and regret, they informed me that it was over. I had lost, and it was time to go home. They called a cab for me and sent me on my way.
I had left my keys at my apartment out of the fear of losing them (the irony still stings) with the plan to simply call my roommate when I got home to buzz me in. Oh I called her all right. Like a heathen in the soaking streets, I called.
Luckily she heard my cries and let me in. She sat me down in the common room so I could explain what had happened.
I was lucky. She didn’t have to be kind. I hadn’t been hiding the fact that I had been so proud to be the only roommate of the 5 of us so far to have not lost her phone or had it stolen. She comforted me, but also reminded me of three harsh realities.
Reality Check #1:
I had insurance, so great, but if I wanted a replacement phone I’d have to make the announcement to my parents that mine was gone forever. Being the chicken nugget that I am, I told them in an email, Skype would’ve been too traumatic — and my friend held me while I hit send.
Reality Check #2:
Due to my rapid aging and fear of experiencing memory loss (I’m 23, and I was 22 at the time. See how fast time flies?) I tend to store important personal information in my phone that I’m afraid I’ll forget right when I need it. Personal information such as my address, bank account number, social security number, etc. I KNOW, OKAY, I KNOW. NEVER AGAIN. YOU JUST LOOK YOUR JUDGMENTAL LITTLE EYES ELSEWHERE. I had been so concerned about my dearest Siri, that the thought hadn’t even occurred to me — she knows so much about me, and who knows what they’d do to her to break her passcode!
Reality Check #3:
We would have no way of contacting each other until my replacement phone came which we knew — based on 4 lost phone incidents in our apartment so far that semester — was 7 to 10 business days (which is so much more stressful than non-business days.)
At first I didn’t think I could make it. Sure, I knew people lived without iPhones once before — I lived without her once before — but that knowledge couldn’t stifle the burn in my heart every time I had to get out of my bed and walk into the other room to talk to my roommates, or when I looked super fabulous but couldn’t Instagram a pic of myself to prove it to everyone I went to high school with, or when I wanted to meet up with that cute Italian guy who’s name I couldn’t pronounce. Texting was really our only way to communicate because I literally could not understand anything he said at all. It was a difficult time to say the least.
As time passed, something started to change. Not only had I begun to adapt, but those around me did as well. My roommates would leave notes in the common room of where I could meet them for lunch after class, and that Italian guy added me on Facebook. I had also started to feel closer to nature and more connected with the universe. I even discovered my spirit animal, and guess what, it was myself.
But then, after many moons had passed (I had to count moons because without my iPhone I forgot what the days of the week were), I got the email that I had so long been waiting for. I believe it may have been a Tuesday…
My new phone had arrived and it was the best because they were somehow able to save and import all of my contacts and information and pictures (including from the concert) so I was able to call my roommates right away and tell them how I was a real person again and there were no consequences lolololololol YAY.
Just kidding. It cost so much money, I got in a lot of trouble, and who knows who has my private information now.
This would have been a lot less stressful had I had Absolute LoJack. They’ve recovered over 30,000 devices in 106 different countries, and in more than 5,000 cases recovery included the arrest of a thief. Not only would I have gotten my phone back but I would’ve been assured that my identity hadn’t been stolen as well.
Will you protect yourself and your devices with Absolute LoJack?
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