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What to do if your phone is lost or stolen abroad

Lost phone while traveling

If you're traveling overseas and you lose your phone—or someone steals it—it may feel like your trip is ruined. But it's not, and we would know. Last year, about 8.7 million phones were lost or stolen, according to our internal data. That's over 1,000 every hour.

Don't worry though, we can help you make the best of a bad situation. At Asurion, we protect your tech and get you back up and running fast—whether you're trying to transfer contacts to your new iPhone® or find a lost or stolen laptop. Here are 7 steps you should take if your phone is lost when you're in a foreign country.

1. Call your phone

The first thing you should try is to use another device to call your phone. This step is trickier if you had your phone on silent, but if it's sitting on a hard surface, someone may hear it vibrate.

2. Text your phone

If you have text messages set to display on the lock or home screen, text your phone with instructions on how to reach you and hope that a good Samaritan finds your device. It happens more often than you think.

3. Use built-in find my phone features

Your phone has built-in security measures that allow you to track, ring, lock, or erase it remotely, if you have the feature enabled. On Android™ devices, the feature is called Find My Device™; on an iPhone, it's called Find My™.

To check if the feature is enabled on your phone and to learn how to use it, see our guides for how to find your lost Android™ phone and how to find your lost or stolen iPhone.

4. Remotely erase the data from your phone

If you think your device was stolen, you should remotely delete the data right away. Sophisticated thieves may remove SIM cards or use special boxes that shield mobile phones from cellular networks, making it impossible for you to wipe the device if you delay.

To remotely erase an iPhone:

  1. Go to https://icloud.com/find on another device and log into your iCloud account.
  2. Click on All Devices, then choose from the list the iPhone you want to erase.
  3. Click on Erase iPhone.

To remotely erase your Samsung or Google phone:

  1. Go to android.com/find on another device.
  2. Sign in to your Google account.
  3. From the left-hand menu, choose Erase Device.

5. Lock your phone and change your passwords

If your device can't be located quickly, use the find my phone feature to remotely secure your phone from any location. And make sure to change the passwords on accounts or apps you regularly use—especially financial accounts, email, and social media—just to be safe.

6. Contact your mobile carrier

If you've had no luck locating your device, and you've erased and locked it remotely, reach out to your carrier. They can disable your account so you won't be responsible for any data usage or phone calls made after you lost it.

They can also typically mark the phone as unusable even with a new SIM card or carrier. This protects you as well as someone who may unknowingly purchase a used phone that's been stolen.

Depending on your carrier and how long you will be out of the country, you may be able to get a replacement phone delivered to you. Check with your carrier for specifics.

7. Alert the police

You probably won't get your phone back, but you may need a police report to dispute any fraudulent charges made with your device or if your personal information was stolen.

Will insurance help if my phone is lost or stolen abroad?

Depends on your provider. Asurion offers cell phone insurance that covers not only loss and theft, but protection from everyday mishaps like cracked screen repair and coverage for water damage. Replacing your device before you return home from your trip to a foreign country may not always be possible, but you should still file a claim as soon as you can to learn your options. In the meantime, you can use your laptop or tablet to make calls and send messages to friends and family using Wi-Fi.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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