Phone lost/stolen. Help.

in Mobiles
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jamieboojamieboo Forumite
75 Posts
Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
Hello folks

**First part of this post is a lengthy story - sorry!
My more immediately practical questions are nearer the end.**

Had my phone (Galaxy S20 FE) lost/stolen - what a bloody nightmare!

And I am at fault to a large extent. I never had a lock on the phone. There's a lesson learned!

Was out with friends in London last thursday night and got quite boozy (body not used to it - haven't really been out for the last 3 years).
I don't remember much but remember staggering about a bit and chatting to random strangers, trying to find bus stop etc.
Anyway, suddenly I didn't have my phone.
I eventually got home and tried to change some passwords on my PC and stuff which was sometimes nightmarishly cyclical because often this process required verification via a security code sent to my PHONE!

Next morning I used the Samsung FindMyPhone website and tracked it to a Macdonalds near Tottenham Court Road. I grabbed my ancient, now simless, previous handset and headed off - getting free wifi where I could.
I asked in Macdonalds, the bar I'd been at, the station, even a kindly homeless guy I recalled asking for directions from - he said 'No man, you were looking for it when I spoke to you last night.'
By this time I'd contacted Plusnet and locked the sim - but seemingly because of this the FindMyMobile tracking no longer worked and the location was not updating. I contacted plusnet and explained and asked if they could briefly unlock my sim again so I could locate it and they did, but still the location did not update. After a few hours I gave up and went home. I used FindMyMobile to try to lock the phone - but this would only happen if/when it connected again.

I searched again on sunday morning. Asking everywhere again if anything had been handed in. Nothing. So home again.
I called the police on 101, was directed to their website, then directed to the Immobilise website and entered all the details and registered it as lost.

Then in the early evening the location updated again on FindMyMobile - it was right outside the theatre near the station!
And I saw that the phone had now successfully locked.
I checked my Plusnet account and saw that a couple of calls had been made from my phone to a number! I called the number and a guy answered - a street musician - and I chatted with him about the situation and he remembered the call he received - from a homeless guy he sort of knows. I asked him to go and talk to him (because he'd said he was in town and nearby) and try to get my phone off him, and he agreed.
I headed in to meet him. I didn't want to waste time because I figured the guy might discard or sell the phone now that it was locked and unusable for him.
With this in mind I used FindMyMobile to unlock the phone again - just to encourage him to keep hold of it until I arrived.

I arrived, found the street musician (who was also homeless) and he said the homeless guy who had my phone was not a nice character.
He said he'd asked him about the phone and that I was sort of tracing it and he'd apparently got really aggressive, and anyway he said he'd already sold it. I said where's his patch and he said 'He's not there now, but just over there' and pointed to a pile of boxes and stuff. And I realised it was the 'kindly' homeless guy who I'd spoken to on the night I lost it. He'd lied to my face when I'd asked him about it.
I said to the musician well I might go and rummage through his stuff, and he said 'Well that's up to you but I can't be seen with you', and he repeated that the homeless guy was not a nice guy - pretty aggressive and VIOLENT!
I said bye to the musician and said I might contact him later, then I 'casually' walked past the homeless guys patch and surreptitiously looked to see if I could see anything. Of course there was nothing to see. I walked on for five minutes then turned around, and after a couple more minutes I bumped into the musician again looking really scared saying he'd just seen the homeless guy on his bike nearby and he'd asked him about the phone again and the guy leapt of his bike and grabbed him - and threatened the musician for telling me about him - and that the phone was 'Sold! Gone! End of!', and that if I continued looking for it there would be 'consequences'.
The musician was really scared and told me that he'd been beaten up by the homeless guy before, and that he'd even once 'screwdrivered someone in the back' over some small issue.

Of course there's a lot from the musician that might not be true. But the fact is a call to him had been made using my phone. My phone had been used by someone else - and they were not making calls to get the phone back to it's owner!
I used FindMyMobile to lock my phone again, but by this time my phone was not connected and so it will only lock the next time it connects. And of course by this time I had contacted Plusnet again and locked my sim.

I guess at this point I would normally go into a police station and directly report it all. But if there's even a grain of truth in what the musician was saying, I don't want to put him in danger by getting the police involved - especially with the possibility that the homeless guy knows the musician spoke to me about him. And anyway, what could the police do for me? It's pretty safe to assume I won't be getting my phone back by now.

And it's probably best not to pursue this anymore myself.
Probably not worth the risk.

So, that's the story - sorry for the lengthy saga.

Now I need to know of practicalities.
I have changed most of my passwords. I have locked the sim. I have reported the loss on the Immobilise website.
But like I said, my phone itself was not locked with a pin or biometrics or anything, so they could've effortlessly got into my photos, and notes, and even - if they were quick before I changed the password - my emails.
I had hundreds and hundreds of photos on the phone, but one of them was of my passport!! (I'd needed to take the pic for a job application or something)
I'm now pretty terrified about identity fraud and related nastiness!
I see there is a thing called CIFAS - a fraud prevention organization.
Do you think I should register for their personal protection service? I think it's about £25 for two years so probably a no-brainer but I just want to get some opinions.

Please be kind!
I know I've been foolish, and then made a series of stupid decisions in the pursuit of my phone.
It has many photos of family including recently deceased relatives, and only some of these are backed up (another example of my foolishness)!
The whole situation breaks my heart.
I so wanted to get it back, and I felt as if I was so close a few times.

But yes, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you so much.


  • edited 13 July 2022 at 2:32PM
    FarwayFarway Forumite
    11.9K Posts
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    edited 13 July 2022 at 2:32PM
    Ref the photos, if you have / had a Google account the phone will have automatically backed up to Google photos for you so fingers crossed you'll find them there. Do let us know if that is so & at least one problem resolved

    PS, maybe in the long run buy a very cheap phone for boozy nights out, one that if lost or stolen makes no difference to your life
  • edited 14 July 2022 at 10:51AM
    jamieboojamieboo Forumite
    75 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 14 July 2022 at 10:51AM
    Thanks for getting back to me Farway!

    Unfortunately I had not set up any kind of Google photo back up. I just checked if it might have been happening automatically, but no - nothing to restore. :(
    I did however back many of them up to Amazon photos. In fact everything was backed up until I turned off auto backup a few months ago because it was popping up all the time and irritating me and using my bandwidth. But this at least means I have all my photos up until April this year. So that's not too bad.
    But I'm very concerned about identity theft and stuff like that.
    There was a photo of my passport in the gallery of my stolen phone. Surely even that by itself puts me at risk? Do you think it would be worth applying for CIFAS Protective Registration, or are they more trouble than they're worth?

  • FarwayFarway Forumite
    11.9K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    jamieboo said:
    Thanks for getting back to me Farway!

    There was a photo of my passport in the gallery of my stolen phone. Surely even that by itself puts me at risk? Do you think it would be worth applying for CIFAS Protective Registration, or are they more trouble than they're worth?

    I think it would be worthwhile, if only to stop you worrying about it. I've no experience of it, so can't say if it can become intrusive & a PIA

    If you haven't done so sign up for, free, with the main credit providers Experian etc to follow and check if any credit or search is unusual

  • edited 14 July 2022 at 11:13AM
    oldagetraveller1oldagetraveller1 Forumite
    1.1K Posts
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    edited 14 July 2022 at 11:13AM
    It's been a while since I owned a Samsung phone but there was Samsung Cloud backup, similar to Google backup..
    I recall that the "Find My Phone" option required a Samsung account.
    Is it possible your phone has backed up automaticlly to your account using Samsung Cloud?
    Probably this had to be set up intially though? 

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