We’ve all lost a phone at some point, either to the skilled distraction-based pick pockets at Market Square terminus, the crowd pressure of that last kombi to your area or to a long drunk night around the town. Whatever the circumstance, we all have or know someone who has lost a phone at some point. That phone you spent your savings on or that gift from a very special person. I lost two phones to Bulawayo; the first a gift from my brother in the UK that I lost in knife-point mugging and the second was pinched while I tried to squeeze my way in to a Commuter omnibus. Too often we hear that our mobile operators can help us track our lost phones but we never know how to go about it. At the time I didn’t know, so I let both phones go.
As a customer I want to know that my network operator cares enough to help you retrieve your lost device when they can. In my view it’s an ideal part of customer care, the process should be as clear as possible. So I did a bit of research into the tracking process for my fellow Econet subscribers.
Know Your IMEI
This unworldly phenomenon that goes by the name IMEI is a key element when it comes to issues of phone tracking. I guess first is to tell you what it is right?
IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a 15- or 17-digit code that uniquely identifies mobile phone sets. TheIMEI code can enable a GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) or UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) network to prevent a misplaced or stolen phone from initiating calls.
So it’s like your phone ID number. Whenever you buy a phone you should get your IMEI and write it down somewhere. To get the IMEI all you need to do is dial *#06# on your phone; it will then display the code. If your phone can carry two SIM cards you will get two IMEI codes. Keep both.
A lot of times when we don’t know a process in advance. Getting it in bits and pieces becomes annoying and it feels longer than it really is. It can also start to feel like the customer service is poor when it’s us who were poorly informed. That’s the case with phone tracking. Usually we go to Econet shops with little knowledge maybe after reporting with the police and we think we’ve got all we need. Then the shop starts telling you about going back to the police to get more. Oh Lord! NO! Back to ZRP that already gave me a hard time when I was the one one reporting a crime? To ask ZRP to put in more work? Let’s admit, when it comes to our beloved Police force it’s always better to know all that you need and to ask for it in one go. I guess our ignorance is not an excuse. So try to know everything beforehand and avoid the headaches that come with not knowing enough.
Getting Your Phone Tracked
First things First. You should make a Police report.
Tracking of stolen handsets can be done if you have reported the theft to the police and the police write a letter to Econet Wireless with the following details:
- The letter should be on a police letterhead signed by the officer commanding district.
- A case reference number should be on the letter.
- The circumstances of the case should be set out e.g. theft of a handset, type of handset, IMEI number (if known) and the number last used by the handset
- The letter should include a clarification of what the police would like Econet Wireless to do e.g. tracking of the handset, the details or number of the subscriber using the handset etc.
- If the handset is being used on the network by an Econet subscriber that information can only be given to the police, and not to the subscriber, because such information is confidential and as the matter is a criminal one (theft) only the police or law enforcement agencies can investigate.
- The Investigating Officer (I.O) processes a Search Warrant or Court Order as required by Statutory Instrument (SI) 95/2014. And when it’s ready (dully signed by a Magistrate) the I.O should take it to Econet for phone tracking.
- Search warrants or court orders are NOT accepted if presented by customers BUT are accepted from the Police only. So again you need to pray for an energetic Investigating Officer. Pick wisely when you get to a police station. This is not the lottery.
I don’t really know how long it would take to go through the whole process but I do know someone who’s phone was tracked and found. When I asked she felt she was lucky that her Investing Officer was quite invested in the search and was very engaging.
We learn something new everyday. Feel free to bookmark this post in case you ever lose your phone. It would be handy to have this information handy. Alternatively you can can engage me on social media and I will gladly message you the summarised list 🙂
Remember to continuously improve yourself. #kaizenYOU