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You've lost your most prized possession: your mobile device. Don't write it off just yet. We explain what to do when your cellphone goes missing.

1. Track it down digitally

Install iHound on your iPhone so you can keep tabs on it if it's lost. When activated, the application uses the GPS and Wi-Fi built into the device to zero in on its location and sound an alarm. If you're a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device user, try GadgetTrak: It can locate your phone with GPS or data collected from cell towers. And if you're nervous about a sticky-fingered filcher accessing your files, you can also use it to wipe data off your smart phone remotely.

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2. Stick an ID tag on it

Don't doubt the morality of your fellow citizens: An ID tag with alternative contact information could be your best hope for recovery - especially once the battery dies. If you'd rather not advertise your personal details, buy a TrackitBack tag ($20 each). The sticker displays an ID code that the finder can report through a toll-free number or website. Jason Wagner, founder of the Winnipeg-based company, says the recovery rate for lost phones outfitted with TrackitBack IDs is 85 per cent.

One TrackitBack client lost his BlackBerry at the Sydney international airport, Mr. Wagner says. On his journey back to Halifax, he called the airport at each stop to see if it had been recovered. Meanwhile, someone had found the phone and reported it to TrackitBack's office, which had couriered it to his home in Halifax. The man and his phone were reunited in just a day and a half.

3. Report it to your service provider

Most service providers, including Bell Mobility and Rogers Wireless, recommend you call them if you lose your phone so they can block further use. You may not get your phone back (smart thieves will simply unlock the device before selling it), but this will at least prevent them from running up charges on your account.

*And don't do this

Get out of a taxi without making sure you have your phone. It's one of the top spots missing mobiles are found.

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By the numbers

40: Percentage of U.S. and British mobile users surveyed who say they'd rather lose their wallets than their mobile devices

Source: Research firm Coleman Parkes

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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