What to do if your Phone gets Stolen

March 1, 2023
Wura T

Transition periods come with discomfort occasionally, but Nigeria is currently undergoing two major transitions in the first quarter of 2023. It is no news that the upcoming elections have heightened tensions among different party supporters and to encourage a cashless economy, combat election malpractices and corruption the Central Bank of Nigeria launched the new currency in November 2022 with a tight deadline for the return of old notes.

Since the announcement, Nigerians have struggled to purchase basic amenities like fuel and food. This is amid a long-winded fuel scarcity so it is not surprising that financial crimes have become the go-to for threat actors and mobile money transactions have made these crimes even easier. In this article, we will interview a victim of phone snatching in Lagos, Nigeria and they will take us through a few steps to take if you find yourself in a similar situation.

W: Where were you on the day of the incident?

T:  I was on my way home from work in the evening

W: Do you remember the time of day when the incident happened?

T: I don’t but I reckon it was around 8 PM

W: What was your first reaction when your phone was snatched?

T: Panic. I wanted to run after the thieves but the driver was a middle-aged man who looked like he didn’t have any strength to be running after thieves, so he didn’t allow me to get down, so all I could do was stare at the thieves who were a little far away from me but standing and happy with themselves

W: What was your next step when you did not get help?

T: I immediately got a passenger’s phone, logged into my GTB account through their website, and transferred all my money to my sister. 

W: You talked about blocking your sims and bank cards, how did you do that and how long did it take?

T: The phone had 2 sims; one which was attached to my BVN and bank account and an MTN line, so I called this network first and the first thing I said was, “my phone was just stolen and I need to block it”. He asked a couple of questions which I answered correctly, so the line was blocked. I wasn’t able to block the second line because according to the customer care agent, I missed the key questions and my line could not be blocked. Each call took about 5 minutes. For my bank account, since I didn’t have any bank app on my phone, I emptied my account and sent it to my sister 

W: What information were you asked for to block the sim?

T: My name, address, age, mom’s maiden name, last recharge and date, tariff plan, phone number, last 3 calls or frequently called numbers, when I bought the line and where. After this, he confirmed my line was blocked. I asked if I could easily unblock it and he said I needed my NIN number to do so 

W:  Asides from the phone, what other items or information did you lose?

T: My pictures, images and a lot of files I had stored and didn’t back up. Luckily, I had acclimated my Samsung account, so all the Information on apps like WhatsApp notes, and some images were saved on Google drive and backed up.

A cloud drawer containing files

W: You mentioned a loan that was taken with your mobile number, how was the attacker able to do this?

T: through the number attached to my bank. Kwikmoney now Migo is a popular online lending platform and it’s easy to take loans through its USSD check loans and also pay back. 

W: How long did it take for you to realise what had happened?

T: immediately I retrieved the line and could get access to my account, I just noticed that the money sister transferred and my account balance didn’t match, then I got an SMS from Migo saying the money has been disbursed and I would have to repay the sum at a very high-interest rate.

A man cutting off a debt chain

W: what is your most important takeaway from this?

T: Ask yourself, if my phone is stolen right now, how do I protect my money and sim immediately? Back up all your data and know the password of your email addresses so you can retrieve your data. Also, protect yourself by knowing your bank login details for the Web app. You can also have sim locks, and avoid having all your info on fancy phones.

To block and retrieve your sim if it gets missing or stolen, we have compiled the necessary information you would need to contact your service providers. It also does not matter if you are unable to contact your provider using the same line, we added the alternative channels too, just bear in mind that the earlier you take action the less the likelihood of your information being stolen.


How to Contact your Service Provider to Block your Sim



How to block an MTN Sim


How to block an airtel sim


How to block a glo sim


How to block a 9mobile sim


Finally, you may need to report to law enforcement to retrieve your sim but blocking your sim at the earliest time possible might save you from mobile money scams if you lose your mobile device. You might also consider locking your sim as a preventative measure but this is only effective if the attacker removes your sim or turns off your device. If you found this helpful, kindly share it with your network.

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