Blocking your SIM card after you lose your phone or have it stolen is possible. We wanted to calm you down and get that out of the way. We know it’s a terrifying feeling, knowing someone found it – it has happened to us too. And it gets worse than them looking at the pictures of your significant other, family, or dogs, which is scary itself. That person or a group of people are now free to make calls, even internationally, access the Internet, send SMS, sign you up for various services, and… let’s not continue that thought. What matters is that you need to learn how to block a SIM card, and urgently.
1. Contact your carrier as soon as possible
Obviously, there are thousands of carriers across the globe. Even smaller countries have at least 3 carriers fighting for dominance. For that reason, we can only give you general guidance on what to do.
- First, try calling your number from another phone. It’s possible that a Good Samaritan found it, and is willing to return it gracefully. There definitely are good people in the world.
- If the battery is dead, no one is picking up, or the SIM card seems to be taken out, all carriers agree that you need to get in touch as quickly as you can. They can start the request to block the SIM card from their end immediately. The process can take between 1 hour and 24 hours. Do this:
- If it’s a workday, and during business hours, Vodafone, Proximus, Amaysim, and others agree that you need to call their free toll number found on the website and report the incident. Then, they will stop the founder from using the old one, and instruct you to come to the nearest store and pick up a new SIM card. Don’t worry, you can keep the same phone number.
- If it’s a workday but out of business hours, you can send an e-mail or use a dedicated online service with your carrier. One example is Viva MTS Internet Assistant.
- Try to remember if you registered an alternate phone number or e-mail during the purchase or via the carrier smartphone app. If so, there’s a quicker way. Many carriers like V! have an online form that allows you to send OTP (one-time-password) to that phone number or e-mail, barring the SIM card from use almost immediately.
2. Use your IMEI code
IMEI is a unique number given to every phone when it’s manufactured. It consists of 15 to 17 digits, and can be found in the following places:
- If you can remove the back panel, it will be printed on a label glued to the phone’s insides.
- If your phone is waterproof or splash-resistant, IMEI will be printed on a piece of paper inside the package your phone came in.
- IMEI is often printed on the monthly bill you receive from your carrier.
- You can dial *#06# on Android and iPhone to have it appear on-screen. You can’t do this at the moment, but it’s a good practice for the future.
Why is it important?
Well, for 3 reasons:
- You can often enter the IMEI on your carrier’s website. This will temporarily block the SIM card while they start their workday.
- Giving IMEI via the phone call or in-store allows them to match it with their data, and prove you are the owner without a lot of fuss and bureaucracy.
- Giving IMEI to the police after it’s stolen or lost gets it entered into their system. As soon as the perpetrator turns the phone on, even with another SIM card, the police will be notified.
3. Use an app to locate the phone and remotely delete the data
Now that the SIM card is blocked, what about the phone itself? Ideally, you’d like to get it back. If that’s not possible, you can make it useless for the perpetrator. Unfortunately, if you didn’t plan for this, it’s too late. But you can make sure it doesn’t happen with your new device and SIM card.
- Call the phone through the app, even if the SIM card was taken out.
- Find the phone’s current location or last known location (if the perpetrator disabled location or didn’t connect to the Internet).
- Lock the phone with a PIN, pattern, or password, and add a message to the founder with instructions on how to get it back to you.
- Erase all data on the phone remotely. This often doesn’t include the data on SD cards.
- Restore the data on the Google account by entering the password, PIN, or pattern if you get the phone returned to you.
Optional. You can also try out a well-known Android app such as Lookout.
Apple has its counterpart, known as Find My app, designed for iPhone and iPad. You have to install and enable the app, make sure the devices are connected to your iCloud, and make sure Share My Location is enabled as well. When you sign in with your Apple ID and password to iCloud Find My iPhone, you can:
- Find the phone location.
- Call the phone even if the SIM card was removed on the iPhone.
- Lock the phone with a password.
- Add a message to the founder.
- Erase all of the data on the phone remotely. If the phone is offline, the data will be deleted as soon as the perpetrator enables it. If you ever find it, you can cancel the process before you turn it on. Apple also allows you to restore from a backup.
- Disable Apple Pay immediately, and remove all payment information from the phone.
Once again, you can install the iOS version of Lookout.