If you ever lose your phone; hurdles, measures and precautions to be taken in order to reduce your struggles and inconvenience

This article is crux of an experience (sort of a nightmare) which I had when I lost a phone along with a SIM card which is used for all business purposes, for all personal communication, and for all banking purposes, storing data, notes, passwords, etc. Not to forget WhatsApp data consisting of a lot of business communications and business related groups.

A. The crux of the issue is because of a new update in the process of getting new SIM, you need to have registered an alternate number with your operator (applies to all operators). Please make sure you have registered the same without which you won’t be able to get a replacement SIM. Be careful not to put the alternate number in the same phone with dual SIM slot.

B. In case you have not registered an alternate number (by the time you realize that it is time for getting a replacement SIM), you will need to call customer care and get it registered by giving certain details along with 2 frequently dialed numbers. You need to write those 2-3 frequently dialed numbers somewhere, best thing to write in physical copy somewhere or else save in some family member’s phone. This is necessary when you lose phone and you have not already registered IN ADVANCE. (Note 1 – regarding third class Jio Services)

C. Don’t register an alternate number which is in second SIM card slot. (refer note 2)

D. No need to stress the importance but just as a reminder, you should be able to keep your Gmail password handy in case you need to extract phone numbers from your contacts. However, if you login from a different browser or computer not used before, again it will send OTP to your registered number, then you are lost in a cycle and you can’t login because OTP is being sent on the lost number. The solution to this is to generate backup login security codes from Google (Note 3)

E. If you are lucky and if the phone is connected with internet after you have lost it somewhere and it has not been fallen in hands of other person, you can wipe off data from your phone (factory reset), you can lock your phone with a message to appear on the face of the phone. https://www.google.com/android/find, login through your Google Account details and on the left side, you will see various options of locking phone, secure device, erase device, etc. Frankly speaking, I chose the option of erasing data from device, but I am not 100% sure whether it did work because it was not intimated by Google through a mail confirmation or anything that it was successful or not. The last time I checked from ‘google find my phone’, it was showing 35% battery left. So, clueless.

F. You need to have a backup plan for bank accounts and credit cards. If you are using multiple bank accounts and credit cards, you should consider using different number for at least one bank account and one credit card. (Refer note 4)


Note 1: In spite of doing this process, I faced issues with Reliance Jio, the customer care kept on telling me that they updated the number however, the guy in gallery could not see the alternate number in his steps being followed for requesting OTP from that alternate number. So, it is most important to register an alternate number in advance. Finally it took 24 hours for that alternate number to be reflected in the Point of Sale device at the gallery. Since whole business in on that number, I was feeling breathless for a day.

Note 2: Don’t give alternate number of the SIM which is in 2nd SIM slot of your phone, in case you lose phone, you will lose both SIM cards. Hence, very important to keep an alternate number which is either of any family members or that SIM being used in different/separate phone.

Note 3: Go to https://myaccount.google.com/security Under ‘Signing in to Google’ option, there is a tab called 2-Step Verification, Click on that and you will be asked to enter password again. After that, there will be option of Security Codes, when clicked on that, you will be given an option to download or print those codes. Keep it at safe place, recommended to take printout of the same and keep at safe place like a cheque book.

Note 4: Backup plan – Keep alternate mobile number in one or two bank accounts and one or two less used credit cards. It will save you when such situation occurs and you are helpless but you want to use your debit or credit cards. I had registered all my bank accounts and all my credit cards with one mobile number (which I lost). When that was gone, I was helpless; all that I could do was withdraw money thru debit card and could not do any transaction which required OTP on registered number. I felt helpless. One more important aspect to consider is that, the bank account in which you are consider registering alternate mobile number should be net banking enabled and UPI enabled, this is a savior in case one of your credit card payment due date is there and you are in a situation where you can’t use the net banking or payment facility because of unavailability of the primary number.

Note 5: For Whatsapp Business users, or Whatsapp being used for business, always remember, your network is your net worth, hence, if you are having whatsapp groups for business purpose, make sure your alternate number is added as group member as well as the same is made as admin of the group. It’s a backup plan for whatsapp groups which you own for business purpose. Other recovery process is very lengthy. No need to stress, but keep taking chat backups in Google drive. Go to Settings/Chats/Chat Backup/ and select frequency and options for backup

The above experience raises serious doubts on business model and the support services of Reliance Jio. The way customer base is growing, support services are not growing. The way Jio store people are feeling helpless to help customers; the same is not in line with long term sustainability of the company. Though the experience is described based on one store’s experience, but there might be stores and places where customers are not even given this many answers. This calls for action and strategic measures from the company’s side.

The article is written just to ensure that the readers should not face the same issues I faced, or at least reduce the struggles and harassments which I faced in last 24 hours. But all izz well that ends well. After 24 hours of struggles, I got new SIM and hopefully in another 4 hours, it will be active. As a conclusion, I must say, register your alternate number with your operator and follow the above safety measures.

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October 2020