Reader Asks: How Do I Get My Stolen BlackBerry Back?

14 Comments

Location of stolen BlackBerry
This is where Protect places my BlackBerry

Dear BlackBerryCool,

You guys write about apps like BlackBerry Protect and SmrtGuard all the time, and I thought I would give Protect a try. Just my luck, last week I had my BlackBerry stolen and I turned on Protect to see if I could find it. Protect gave me a map with a pin of where my device is, accurate to about 6 meters (ED NOTE: pictured above). So I decided to call the police and report it stolen because it’s technically theft over $500, making it worth police attention. In the report I said I have software installed to help find my BlackBerry and an investigator called me back a few days ago. I gave him the screenshot and he said he would get back to me. This is what he said:

“Honestly, since no address is provided it would be impossible for us to follow up on that information. Unfortunately the police cannot go randomly door to door asking if stolen property is inside. We need more concrete information. Also, at the time you captured that data it may have been possible that the suspect was simply walking in the area. Having said that I don’t believe there are any solvability factors in this case. The file will be closed and submitted for information purposes only. If there is anything else I can do for you please don’t hesitate to ask.”

So what’s the point in all this software? Why do services like SmrtGuard say “Find your lost or stolen phone” when I can’t use GPS as evidence for police? How do I get my stolen BlackBerry back?

Thanks and love the site,

-Stephanie

Hey Stephanie,

Good point. A recent story of someone actually getting back their stolen device (in this case a laptop), is Sean Power. The software used was called Prey, and it’s a lot like Protect and SmrtGuard but with far more features. If you read the story, you can see that there are a few key features needed to get the laptop, the most important of which seems to be the ability to view the current screen and what the thief is doing on your device. Whereas BlackBerry Protect seems more about wiping data and locking the device, there are some clear benefits to being able to let the thief tinker away on the device and reveal private information. See this:

Prey Software

It seems that BlackBerry Protect could do be much more useful for stolen devices if it had some way to act like the Prey software while still keeping your data safe. Here is what I propose: allow the user to wipe the data, but leave the smartphone open for use. Allow the user to monitor the device, record keystrokes, log phone calls and have all of this data sent back to you in a report. I guarantee if the police had a long list of calls made, names, GPS locations etc. they would have enough “solvability factors” to keep get a warrant for an arrest. But in the end you’re right, I don’t think just a GPS location and wipe capability is enough to truly recover a stolen phone.

Thanks for reading and sorry about your phone.

-Kyle

  • http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/vendor/1111 Eric at Ebscer

    Accurate to within 6 meters is way better then an address. The police really dropped the ball on this one…

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for the support Eric. I also sent the police the satellite view:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/198/screenshot20110508at335.png/

  • SmrtGuard Mobile Security

    Stephanie,

    As maker of SmrtGuard, we agree with BlackBerryCool that approximate location and GPS alone isn’t enough information to catch the person and/or to convince authority to help you, which is the exact reason why we have the following features built-in already:

    * Remote Listen – you can actually listen to your smartphone’s surrounding. So, if someone had stolen it, you might be able to gain more insights.

    * Remote Backup – Not only can you get the latest data into the cloud so you don’t lose any data, but you can also monitor calls, SMS made to and from your smartphone.

    * Remote Wipe – Obviously this is the last resort, but with SmrtGuard we delete your data, microSD data, and uninstall native phone application and native email application as well as all 3rd party applications (except SmrtGuard). However, we leave the Service Books intact, so you can still locate it with SmrtGuard.

    * Audio Ping – Now, you might get lucky that with an audio ping. If your phone was simply misplaced and not stolen, an audio ping might lead to someone picking up your phone and arrange for you to pick it up.

    * Battery life and last connected time – this gives you an idea the condition of the phone.

    We always suggest to our customer to begin locating the lost/stolen smartphone by using the continuous tracking feature from SmrtGuard. This way the user can see if the smartphone is in motion or not. If it is stationary, then trigger an audio ping and go near to see if you can hear the sound.

    Hope this helps,

    SmrtGuard Team

  • http://about.me/kylemcinnes Kyle McInnes

    The remote listen is a really interesting feature we often neglect to
    mention. It’s true you could get more useful information about the
    subject such as names and details.

    I really think the killer
    feature for these apps would be something that, after initiated, could
    sit in the background, wait for input and when the thief starts using
    the device, start sending screenshots via email. Just like Prey says in
    their feature set: “Grab a screenshot of the active session — if you’re
    lucky you may catch the guy logged into his email or Facebook account!”

  • Husniddin

    Stephanie and Kyle,

    Have u ever used Where’smyphone app? The most useful hint of this app over others is that it sends an sms to your defined mobile number when someone tries to put his sim card in your phone. So u’ll see his mobile number and u won’t need to track your phone.
    I think this is the best solution if u want to use protective application.

  • Thomaskhan

    Husniddin, why install another application like that when an app like SmrtGuard has SIMCard Guardian that does exactly that :) 

    I love SmrtGuard because it essentially combines great utilities into one application so you don’t have to installed a whole bunch of apps and clutter your BB. One of the best feature is Remote Call Forwarding and Call Blocking from SmrtGuard. 

  • Thomaskhan

    Husniddin, why install another application like that when an app like SmrtGuard has SIMCard Guardian that does exactly that :) 

    I love SmrtGuard because it essentially combines great utilities into one application so you don’t have to installed a whole bunch of apps and clutter your BB. One of the best feature is Remote Call Forwarding and Call Blocking from SmrtGuard. 

  • Rotsmith_emmary

    hi all my name is emmary gween, i need to get my sis blackberry back no matter d cost in it i will pay, how can i do that please, blackberry arkers help me out, i do need i back.

  • Andrewlogan737

    if i have a back up of a lost blackberry can it be traced

  • Hozayfa

    I read all of you said and proved , but I have lost my blackberry since a week , and If I could only where it is I’d even feel comfortable for knowing where it is and just wipe my data and then I could act like a private police men and I can get it then…
    so my whole problem is that my new black berry was just incomplete registered in all blackberry services like protect..
    even though I have an BB ID but I dunno when I entered the bbid site to know where it is located nothing have appeared… either GPS Location or others…
    I dunno if someone could help me get authorized to complete the data for my blackberry so I could know where my bb is and wipe m data.
    and I’D BE SO THANKFUL IF SOME little helped provided concerning this topic.

  • CrackberryWho

     You can report it stolen online:

    http://www.stolenlostfound.org/

    It’s free to both search and report a stolen Blackberry and lost & found Blackberry and a report will appear on the search engines within a day!

    Hope this helps you

  • S Mdimbaza

    IWAS ROBBED OF MY BLACKBERRY 9300 PHONE ON 28JULY HERE IS THE INFO
    IMEI NO : 351515058371446
    PIN   :  299FFE4C
    MY CURRENT CELL NO 0780418574
    EMAIL.   s.mdimbaza@gmail.com

  • Kallol_bhilai

    In case the person who is using the stolen Blackberry is only using the monile for voice(only for making calls, even no grps activated) & not activated Blackberry services, still can we wide data or locate him???

  • Beesdyerwellington

    What sucks about that is if they where looking for it they could get it. But I understand the probable cause shit. I have seen several cases where they pinned robberies on guys cause the dumb asses had their blackberries turned on as they robbed a house putting their phone within a 3 ft radius of the crime .. So right in the house. The cops will look at this as an insurance matter. I feel bad for you.. That sucks!