Smartphones: What To Do Before, During And After A Possible Theft

2 days ago I had my 1 month old Nexus 5 stolen on the streets of Cuenca. First and foremost it can happen to anyone in any city in the world. Second, I was not hurt and learned some valuable lessons.


Petty theft and especially smartphone theft is on the rise in Cuenca. Petty theft (under $600 ) is not prosecuted in Ecuador. Here are some thoughts and observances based on my 3+ years in Ecuador.

  • Never, answer your phone on a bus. And carry the phone in your purse or front pocket and switch it to vibrate.
  • Try and have all four direction in view and stand against a wall if possible when using your smartphone
  • Texting in a high traffic area is just asking for someone to snatch your phone
  • Wear a bluetooth headphone to avoid run by snatchings
  • When using a BT headset use “Google Now” on Android and “Siri” on iPhones to make your calls
  • *** Very important*** On iPhones install the “Find My iPhone” App
  • *** Very important*** On Android Phones use the “Android Device Manager”
  • Write down the serial number of your phone in a safe place


Fortunately, I was not hurt during the theft. So here our some simple guidelines.

  • Don’t fight. Give the punk the phone
  • Don’t run after him
  • Look for facial characteristics. There are mug shots available in the police station.

After: (In Cuenca)

  • Have someone call 911 in the area – I was fortunate a family picked me up in their SUV and called the police
  • ***Very important*** Do not cancel your Claro or Movistar plan right away
  • Go home and use one of the tracking device to see where your phone is
  • Lock your phone using the tracking device
  • If uninjured go to the Fiscalia (Police Station) at Paucamaba
  • If injured go to Fiscalia at the Airport – They have mug shots there.
  • Fill out the Denuncia form – Totally in Spanish so have a friend or a facilitator there.
  • Check with Moviestar or Claro in the next couple of weeks to see if the their was stupid enough to register your phone.

Final Thoughts:

Are you at extra risk in Ecuador carrying a smartphone? Absolutely! Life is risk. For me the pleasure and rewards for owning a smarthphone outweigh the risks. Will phone theft happen to me again? Will I run after the Ladron. Nunca!!!



One thought on “Smartphones: What To Do Before, During And After A Possible Theft

  1. Pingback: Daily News Links | GringoTree Quito

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