Agência Brasil explains: what to do if cell phone is lost or stolen

First recommendation is to do a police report

Published in 01/12/2021 - 10:32 By Jonas Valente - Repórter da Agência Brasil - Brasíl

In July 2021, Brazil had 246.8 million mobile accesses, according to data from the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel). The number is more than the estimated population, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), which, at the beginning of November, was 213.8 million people.

Although this does not mean the universalization of the device, since there are people with more than one access (or chip , as it is popularly known) and others without any, the number highlights the importance of cell phones in the lives of Brazilians. But and when this disappears, whether by theft or loss, what to do?

Agência Brasil gives some guidelines and tips in these situations. The first step is to block the equipment, which prevents both the connections and the data packet from working. This procedure must be done directly at the operator.

To request the block, it is necessary to provide the number. If the person knows, they must also inform a unique machine identification number called Imei, which can be found on the invoice, on the battery or on the screen by typing *#06#. If you recover the device, you can also unlock it at the operator.

The blocking cannot prevent access to applications and functionalities that can be done over the Internet through other networks, as in the case of a connection via Wi-Fi from somewhere.

Thus, access to data by third parties (whether they are the perpetrators of the theft or people who find the device) can occur if protective measures are not taken, such as the definition of passwords and access conditions (through biometrics, for example) either device and specific apps.

The lawyer specializing in technology and president of the Recife Law and Technology Research Institute (IPRec), Raquel Saraiva, says that biometrics can be an important protection mechanism, but, on the other hand, it must be viewed carefully.

“On the other hand, there is a risk of giving sensitive data to a company without the transparency of how it uses and stores that data. It is worth investigating the company's policies in relation to this, to find out how it handles this data and what is the level of security in relation to it”, suggests Raquel.

In programs that have two-step verification, this type of mechanism is important to make it difficult for third parties to access the data of the original owner of the smartphone.

Another necessary step is to change passwords and PINs to make third-party access difficult. Some operating systems have features that allow you to find the device, lock it or even clean it. For this, it is important to consult the support of the company responsible for the operating system to find out how to proceed in these cases.

The senior security analyst at Kaspersky company, Fabio Assolini, recommends that if the person is able, they should separate a device for banking transactions, in order to prevent third parties from making withdrawals, transfers or payments with the application in the event of loss or theft. financial institution.

“Another simple and effective measure, to prevent them from having access to available accounts, is not leaving passwords written down. The notebook is the first place cybercriminals check when stealing or stealing a device. In addition, if the person has security solutions in the equipment, they can remotely delete their personal information contained in the stolen or stolen device, preventing them from invading their bank accounts”, adds Assolini.

An expert recommendation is to file the police report at a police station. There are states in which the Civil Police provides channels for police reports to be filed online , which speeds up the process. Where this is not possible, it is important to go to a police station to record the theft or loss, a document that indicates the absence of the device in case of illegal actions carried out with it.

The director of Digital Rights and Compliance at the consulting firm Russell Bedford Brasil, Amanda Fraga, recalls that in many places there are police stations dedicated to cybercrime, which can be called if there is an improper or other illegal access to the device and the person's data victim of theft or loss of equipment.

“If the person realizes that his or her information is being used by criminals, there is the possibility of making reports in police stations specializing in digital crime, such as civil police units specializing in cybercrime. Not all cities have these units, but the procedure is recommended when possible.

Law No. 12,737 of 2012, which became popularly known as the "Carolina Dieckman Law" (due to the improper disclosure of the actress's content) regulates computer offenses and includes in the Penal Code the crime of invasion of a computer device, with a penalty of three months to a year in detention, plus a fine.

This crime is defined as "invading another's computer device, connected or not to the computer network, by improperly violating a security mechanism and with the purpose of obtaining, tampering with or destroying data or information without the express or tacit authorization of the holder of the device, or install vulnerabilities to gain illicit advantage”.

Amanda Fraga advises that in the case of bank or credit card transactions, it is important to challenge the financial institution, observing the rules of each card operator or bank.

“Normally by presenting the police report and demonstrating that it had information stolen, the bank makes its own internal investigations and is able to identify if it was an improper purchase and reverse it, even block it. But if the bank or brand does not accept to make the return, the person can go to court, explaining that it was an improper purchase", he explains.

The director of the Data Privacy Brazil Research Association, Rafael Zanatta, reminds that if a third party uses the data to open an account in the user's name or performs any action or transaction passing through him, he will incur the crime of false identity, defined as " assigning oneself or attributing false identity to a third party to obtain an advantage, for one's own or others' benefit, or to cause harm to others”, as well as the uses of identity documents.

Liability, in cases of data use by third parties, has resulted in legal decisions. In a lawsuit with a decision handed down this month, plaintiffs got a favorable decision against Facebook to be compensated by the platform, alleging that it did not protect the mother from a scam on Whatsapp (an application controlled by Facebook). The lady ended up passing on a sum of money, thinking it was her son, but he was a fake.

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

Edition: Graça Adjuto

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