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Old 01-20-2015, 11:27 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 8,709
Recovering lost smartphones and tablets

I recently recovered a tablet my mother lost at the airport minutes before boarding the plane, a recent birthday present. This was the 4G version of the iPad Air. Once she landed in Toronto she called to say that she lost it at the gate. I headed back to the airport and on the way called Apple right away to see if they could track it. They could not give out any information, I would have to log onto a desktop or an Apple device which meant going back home to my PC because I don't personally use Apple stuff. Back at home I logged into Apple's device tracking and there was no signal. Someone apparently boarded a flight with the iPad to some unknown destination, otherwise the signal would have picked up as the tablet was fully charged. I remotely locked the device via Apple's "findy my device" software and left a message, entirely false, that the TSA had recorded them on video picking up the laptop and identified them using their passport photo from the "INTERPOL database".
I left my email and cell phone number instructing them to contact me immediately. I did however speak to The TSA who provided me with photo evidence showing that the iPad had made it past their screeners. Apparently they have no cameras at the actual gate...kind of disturbing. The local cops came over and documented the loss for any insurance purposes. It appeared to me that they do this a lot and rarely see anyone get back their lost device.

My friend who takes apart and fixes these devices opined that the devices was probably in Pakistan or Russia being taken apart, wiped clean and resold. I checked the device tracking site every day for a few weeks. Apple said it would display my message once the tablet was hooked up to WifI. I finally caved and bought a replacement. Well yesterday some 7 months later the iPad appeared at my doorstep via FedEx.
Apparently who ever decided to leave the country with the tablet came back to the airport and turned it in to lost found who in turn contacted me asking for a shipping address.

This was the third time I recovered a lost device by using some sort of bogus message that I was tracking the device's movement or that they were recorded picking up the lost device. Most recently it was my phone that I dropped while biking on my way to pick up a rental car. I circled back not a block and half away and someone had already picked it up and made off with it. About 30 minutes later using Lookout Security's GPS tracking app I was able to follow the guy in my car to within a block. I remotely sounded a very loud remote alarm on the lost phone and spotted the guy walking down the street. I changed the message on the phone's lock screen giving his location and that my next call would be to the local police who "were a block away". The guy called from his own cellphone saying he found the phone.

Moral of the story, use those tracking apps and leave a message on the lock screen that the device belongs to a fictional government agency currently tracking them from a helicopter.

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Last edited by Perfectlap; 01-20-2015 at 11:36 AM.
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