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The Computer Corner


By Charles Miller

Lost Cellphone? Don’t Change Your Phone Number Yet!

A pair of these columns in recent weeks have dealt with the consequences of losing portable computing devices and the “disaster plan” everyone needs to have to cope with this situation should it arise. Our computers, smartphones, and tablets have become almost indispensable tools for many people in the 21st century. As I recently experienced firsthand, it can be either a nuisance or a catastrophe to lose one of these personal electronic devices, depending on your level of preparedness.

Over the last three years I have fearlessly, perhaps foolishly, dived into the hordes of people riding the subways in Istanbul, Kiev, Budapest, Prague, Berlin, London, and New York, but by the time I boarded the Metro in Mexico City, my luck had run out. Yes, I know that pickpockets are a constant threat on big-city buses and subways, but using local transportation is still an efficient and inexpensive way to move around. And do not think I will be dissuaded from visiting Mexico City again. CDMX, as the locals now call it, is a beautiful city with world-class museums and many more sights I want to see.

So my cell phone was gone; no use crying about that. With passport in hand, I made my way to the Telcel Atención a Clientes center in downtown CDMX, where they efficiently provided me with a replacement SIM chip, using the same phone number as the one I had lost. This is a good time to mention that if you use a Mexican cell phone and originally purchased your Mexican chip from any store or vendor not owned by the carrier, you should make a beeline to the nearest Telcel, AT&T, Iusacel, or Movistar company store. It is only possible to get your same phone number back if your number is previously registered in your name. Waiting until the chip is lost is too late.

The reason it is important to get your old phone number back is that many password recoveries are likely tied to it. If you use Facebook or WhatsApp, your lost phone will be logged off your accounts the minute you log on using another phone and your new chip.

All of my contacts, pictures, and my calendar were backed up to “the cloud” automatically. Both Android phones and Apple iPhones have the ability to do this, so it would be prudent for you to check these settings on your phone right now. Before restoring all that data to my new phone there was a higher priority, though.

As soon as possible, log into Gmail or iCloud to change your password! Look for the link that says “Log out all other sessions” and click on that so that anyone who has your phone is locked out of your personal information.

In the end, this experience presented me with the opportunity to go smartphone shopping in a big city where there was an amazingly broad selection from which to choose. I ended up with a new phone a lot better than the one the pickpocket surely found to be old and outdated.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at)


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