Very recently, I lost my prized cellphone.
I say it’s quite dear to me as it contained valuable photos relevant to my job, some work-related files and of course, some “personal” files. I value its Google features (US’ Google banned its services to Huawei starting in 2020) and its clear photos and videos.
It’s a Huawei Y9 2019, fellas, which I bought (in 2019, of course) to beef up my busy works as a mediaman and as a government worker. I was aware that someday I might misplace or lost it, so, I used my most recent photo as its wallpaper and installed a running info about myself, my workplace and my other cellphone number. I also applied a pin pattern and a fingerprint password.
One afternoon, after a day’s hectic work, I unmindfully placed it inside my right pocket which I do not usually do due to its size (6.5 inches). I used to store it inside my sling bag but on that afternoon, I pocketed it.
When I arrived home, I realized it was already gone. I immediately traced back my whereabouts but to no avail. Later that evening, I called my lost phone. It rang for a while then went off. This went on in a cycle until the following day. Then it could no longer be contacted. The dishonest man (or woman) who picked it up had probably decided not to return it and kept it as his or her own.
As I needed it badly to communicate with other people via online, I decided to purchase another one. I landed with a phone with 6GB RAM, 128GB storage, full HD resolution and a 48MP camera.
My new phone was working alright, but lately, it couldn’t play the videos, or its video player suddenly stops with the message that there is a bug and should be reported immediately to the developer. I didn’t experience this problem with my old, lost phone, fellas. So the least I could do was to download a video player but later, I had to factory reset it.
On the day it was lost, a housemate picked up a sling bag that evening while coming home from work. She brought it home and together, we tried to contact the owner through the numerous IDs inside, but we did not find any cellphone number. So, we surrendered the bag to the police. Further scrutiny by the PNP revealed that the owner is a fireman. There were also firearms license cards.
The police contacted the local firemen who readily recognized the owner, one of their colleagues assigned in the province’s second district. This fireman also reported the loss to a nearby town PNP station.
After an hour, the owner got his sling bag. He said he was a victim of a Salisi Gang who stole his bag from his car whom he missed to lock. He lost a firearm, P2,000 in cash and an ATM card.
I was then hoping that with this little deed of honesty, my cellphone would also come back to me. But as of this writing, it remained lost. I no longer wondered why it did not return.
“Naginteresandan ah (They like to own it),” said Mang Maing, my good friend.
“If you only misplaced it here in our workplace, it would have been returned, sir,” said Dennis, our security guard.
I contacted my friends and acquaintances in the social media hoping they would be able to give info. Although they promised to help, I know that my lost phone is already lost forever.
It was the second phone I lost, fellas.
The first one (long time ago) was a Nokia 3210 (it was the latest model then). I also placed it inside my right pocket. It slipped down and got lost on my way to the Vigan Public Market from the publication I was writing. Upon my return to the publication, we immediately called it. It rang for a while then went off.
After 5 minutes, we called it again. I heard a voice of a man that went this way: “Iddepen ngaminen a. Dimon sungsungbatan. (Switch it off and don’t respond).”
Today, I’m still “savoring” that hurt feeling of my lost Huawei phone as it has become a part of me. It’s like losing a love one.
Lesson learned: always take good care of your things. Be orderly and don’t future think of your other activities without fixing first your present activities.
This experience led me to the figure that of the more than 79 million cellphone owners in the country, 6,000 were lost last year in Manila alone. Most of the stolen or lost cellphones were never reported to the police so the figure should be more.
Some startling statistics from Kensinton’s Infographic reveal that:
One laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.
Around 70 million smartphones are lost each year.
Some 4.3 percent of company-issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year while 52 percent of devices are stolen from the office/workplace, and 24 percent from conferences.
Of the 70 million smartphones lost each year, only 7 percent are recovered.
One of the dangers of losing a phone, says the police, is that it might be used to blackmail the owner especially when there are “intimate and scandalous” photo or video stored. One story headlined in the news lately narrates an extortion on a pretty office employee where the thief was able to squeeze from her a big amount before returning her phone – only to find out that the scoundrel had already copied some of her intimate photos. When the man demanded another round of cash, she reported the matter to the police for an entrapment. The man was arrested after a brief chase and is now languishing in jail.
In the United States, even senior citizens are not spared.
• An 85-year-old man in Illinois said he’d been contacted by email — five times — with threats that the crooks would release video of him watching porn if he did not cough up $2,000.
• A 75-year-old woman in Delaware received an email threatening to send out compromising photos of her watching adult material until she paid.
• An 80-year-old man in Massachusetts was told the crooks would expose compromising pictures of him unless he forked over $2,000.
• An 89-year-old woman in New Jersey received four emails, threatening to reveal her secrets, unless she paid with Bitcoin.
Another very embarrassing story pertains to a foreigner and the extortionist was a woman from the Philippines.
The story goes like this: A US attorney narrates that his “excruciating and hurtful” experience began with a friend request on social media. He said that the request came from Croatia. Things between him and the mystery woman heated up during intimate online video chats. Soon came a request for cash — or the compromising images of him would be shared.
As instructed, he used money-transfer services to send $1,000 to the Philippines, more than 6,000 miles from Croatia! Next came a second request — for $2,000 — and he complied. A third request, for $5,000, followed, but instead of sending the money, he alerted the police. The authorities contacted the fraudsters, who disappeared. The victim says the “scary part” is that the criminals would have “nickeled and dimed” him had he not gone to the police.
Back to my lost phone, am I worried, fellas?
I’m glad I did not have scandalous photo or video of me or with anybody in my lost CP.
Only the usual “boys’ interests.”