Lost your mobile? You're not alooooooone...

Filed Under: Data loss, Featured, Mobile, Privacy

man talking into banana phoneI lost my phone a few weeks ago. I was on the Eurostar returning to London from Paris, and somehow the phone didn't make it home with me. Really really annoying that I lost it. It was locked, and thankfully I had enabled an option to wipe it completely should I report it as lost or stolen.

This is not the first time I have lost a phone. I have left them in airplanes, in cabs, at friends' houses...it is embarrassing really. But it turns out I am by no means alone.

A Lookout Labs project has just been released, providing a fresh way to look at lost mobile stats and figures. Hats off guys - very cute.

In reverse order, here are the US cities where you are most likely to lose your phone. (Feel free to check out their methodology.)

Top ten US cities where people lose phones

10. Boston
9. New York
8. Baltimore
7. Cleveland
6. Detroit
5. Newark
4. Long Beach
3. Oakland
2. Seattle
1. Philadelphia

Below is an amateurish collage created by yours truly of the top ten places where people lose their phones in London, Tokyo, San Francisco and New York City. It does provide fabulous insight into how we spend our time in different cities.
collage of Lookout's top ten places we lose phones

If you have lost your phone, you might want to visit Help, I lost my phone, a site pulled together by the ISIPP, after you have had a little cry of course.

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9 Responses to Lost your mobile? You're not alooooooone...

  1. dkitch · 1259 days ago

    Sadly, the Lookout Labs report reads more like a marketing pitch for their $30/yr mobile security product than an actual security report. The fair market value of a lost phone is nice to think about, but the more serious implications of losing a phone - finders having access to personal and business apps and data, as well as banking information - aren't even discussed.

  2. We must be getting to the point where we can put a gps tracking device in a mobile phone in case we lose it by now.

  3. David Pottage · 1259 days ago

    Modern smartphones have GPS recevers built in, so it is possible to install remotely activated tracking software so that if you loose your phone you can go online and get it's current location and street address plotted on a map. This does assume that you planned ahead and installed one of these apps *before* you lost the phone.

    For Android there is also an app you can install after the fact. The idea is that you log into the Google store, find the app, and click install. It will be installed over the air to your phone where ever it is, and will imedately start and report it's location without any intervention needed.

    However these tracking solutions don't work so well if someone dishonest finds the phone. A frend of mine told me about how he lost his phone, so he ran the remote tracking software once he got home. The location reported was a coffee shop he had visited during that day. Rather than make a special trip, he phoned the resturant and and asked them to keep the phone safe till the next day. The person he spoke to basicaly turned off and stole the phone instead of keeping it. (The GPS tracking stopped shortly after the phone call).

  4. You can do that already Jason, things like Locate My Droid and Mobile Defense to name a couple

  5. Jane James (@TheJaneJames) · 1258 days ago

    My other half's phone rang. It was his cousin. This is what I heard: "You found your phone then"........"where was it?"......... "IN THE BATH!?"

  6. Natasha · 1258 days ago

    This could not come at a better time for me lol.., as it was I lost my iPhone yesterday and it could of been at one of 3 places but where in one of those places is the question.
    After wasting half my day ringing around and calling my phone hoping someone would answer it as it was still on.
    To cut a VERY LONG story short I left my iPhone in my daughters prep classroom from when I dropped her off in the morning. Cause I was ringing it the teachers and all the kids were looking around for this phone they could hear ringing. FINALY the teacher rung my partner to let him know & to tell me :-)... I had so much I had to get done today but I couldn't do anything till I found my phone.
    This whole experience has made me realize that
    my mobile plays such a major part in my life!!! I have every appointment on there every birthday
    all contact information etc not to mention
    personal information and photos of my 2 girls
    and family. Another thing that crossed my mind
    was the money I spent on my phone as I
    brought it outright & I don't even have a pin lock
    on my phone anywhere at all, which I've now
    realized how open & easy I left it for all my
    personal info and details to fall into the hands of
    the wrong people.
    I'm so glad I had a good out come to this situation I found myself in yesterday. I have now
    changed a few small things on my phone, such as a pin lock :-)...
    My phone is by my side 24/7 I can't believe I had actually lost my iPhone & how lost was I with out it lol....

  7. Dilarn · 1256 days ago

    I do not know how applicable this is to your part of the world. In Srilanka we have about 6 major carriers. They are moderated by Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), a government agency.

    If you loose your phone, get a police report and the IMEI number of your phone and fill up a form and submit to TRC. The IMEI number is given to all carriers and if a call is originated from one of the carriers their main system will be notified. If the SIM is not changed you can get a recent call record of say last couple of weeks and you will get some traceable phone numbers after the day you lost.

    But it takes sometime. I had to temporarily switch to a cheap phone. If it is taken outside the country this is not applicable. Stealing data inside a phone is a different issue. The IMEI number in most phones is obtained by typing *#06#. I did not have a record of my IMEI. But my carrier gave it to me along with the call report. All free since there was a Police Report.

  8. gail barkley · 1248 days ago

    As a teacher, I noticed a student google ,how to change the sims into his new stolen phone------he even had the stupidity to report the phone he stole from someone else as stolen from him-----No this is no April fools---just half smart kids who do not use your site!!!!

  9. Guest · 1201 days ago

    Haven't lost any phones, but found two: one in a London airport taxi (let the cabby handle it as standard in-cab lost-and-found) and one on the floor within a stall at a public toilet in the Vancouver Aquarium. Its owner rang after a few hours, and we met to ledt her retrieve it (a RIM BlackBerry, that one, almost enough to turn me dishonest :-) ).

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .