Saturday, September 14, 2013

PRECAUTION AGAINST CONSEQUENCES OF LOSING A MOBILE PHONE


With the increased availability and affordability of smartphones, more and more of our sensitive and personal information will be easily accessible, cross referenced and integrated through our device. As personal and private data become more valuable to businesses and those with malicious intent, it is imperative that consumers understand the various implications associated with a lost phone, particularly related to information stored within the device.

Although in some cases, financial losses are substantial, we should also not neglect the lost of one’s reputation, not to mention the mental and emotional distress that can also come with it. Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum Malaysia (CFM) advises consumers to take proactive steps to safeguard their information and perhaps, a bit of their “sanity”:

STEP
ACTIONS
1
Retrieve and retain own mobile device IMEI number
2
Identify preventive measures now
3
Recovery actions after the phone is lost

Consumers should retrieve the IMEI number of their device and keep it separately in a secure place. The IMEI number can be obtained by typing *#06# on their device and the 15-digit IMEI number will instantly appear on the phone screen. Another way to retrieve the IMEI number is by viewing the SIRIM certification sticker located at the back of the phone, under the battery.

The IMEI number is an important record to keep because it is an identifier to the device and, in some ways similar to our IC, it links various information to the user, making it identifiable to specific activities linking names, time and places. This is also the number that the service providers need to facilitate the process of deactivating and blocking the phone and consequently prevent it from being used by unauthorized parties.

As a safeguard measure, consumers can install specific apps that can assist in backing up all important data that are in the phone, which includes telephone numbers, photos, videos and other digital files. This action can avoid the hassle of losing important contact details and other important digital data and can be restored easily not only in cases of lost phones but also when the phones are damaged.

Consumers can also take proactive action by installing at least one tracking application on their mobile phone which can be the first step to check if the phone is really stolen or misplaced before lodging a report. There are many free tracking apps available in the market downloadable from mobile app stores.

In the case that the phone is lost, consumers are strongly advised to change their passwords for sensitive accounts immediately to avoid their personal information from being used in fraud and other criminal activities. Some highly sensitive information such as financial, online banking, cloud sharing accounts should be changed to avoid unauthorized access to sensitive information such as soft copies of documents (IC and photos). Passwords to social media accounts should also be changed to avoid identity theft and impersonation, among other things. There are also mobile apps that can try to delete all important data in your phone remotely should you require such a function.


Finally, the consumer should immediately report to the police if their phone is lost, especially if it was lost in a robbery or break-in. Although the chances of recovering your phone might be low, notifying the authorities could prevent further financial, reputation and emotional damage. Consumers are therefore advised to take the necessary preventive measures even before the enforcement is in place.

About CFM

The Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) was established and designated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in 2001. It is a platform for the industry and the consumers/public to make coherent and constructive contributions to service improvements and policy development.

CFM is tasked with, amongst others, to promote growth of Malaysia’s communications and multimedia industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behavior through industry self-governance. CFM is also a channel for complaints redress on Communication and Multimedia services.


If you have unresolved complaints about your Communication and Multimedia services, please lodge your complaint by calling CFM’s toll free number 1-800-18-222 or visit CFM’s website at www.cfm.org.my or write in to enquiries@cfm.org.my.

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