Amazon’s Kindle is a lightweight portable eReader. Because it’s so light and portable, people often leave it places. Even worse–they’re easily stolen. I know I’ve panicked a few times wondering where mine is. A little prep in advance, plus an action plan when it happens, can give you some peace of mind.
Before Your Lose Your Device
Create a Passcode
Depending on the model you have, the instructions may differ slightly. On my Kindle, I go to Settings > Device Options > Device Passcode. But whether you have the Kindle PaperWhite or a Kindle Fire HD, make sure you have a passcode enabled. Here’s how to create a passcode on the Fire HD.
Your Contact Information
It sounds obvious, but put your contact information on the outside of the device. Unlike other mobile device or Kindle Fire tablets, there’s not much personal information on the Kindle itself. There is no “Find my Kindle” and you can’t use Siri to ask who the owner is. I don’t like putting my physical address on a device. However, I can put a phone number or email on there so someone can contact me.
If you don’t want to put stickers or write on your Kindle, that’s fine. Put the info inside the case if you use one. Stick it on the space that goes behind the Kindle reader in your case. That way if anyone removes the Kindle they’ll see your information. It won’t stop a thief, but it will help a Good Samaritan.
I also created a “book” called This Kindle is owned by. Kindle allows you to add a pdf as a book to your account through email via the Send to Kindle feature. I created a pdf with key information on how to return the Kindle to me (and mention a small reward).
Amazon’s Contact Information
Program into your phone right now Amazon’s contact information. It’s currently 1-888-280-4364. That’s the general helpline. If you have a smartphone, just save a copy of this article. You can also program in the key links later in the article. You don’t want to wait around too long searching for information. The first thing I did when I thought I lost my Kindle was to contact Amazon.
Your Serial Number
If you want to file a police report, or claim a found Kindle, you need the serial number. Amazon tracks this information for you, but why not save yourself time and record it now? I keep this information in both my password management program and contact management program. That contact has Amazon’s support number and my Kindle’s serial number.
When You Can’t Find Your Reader
Assume it’s stolen. You can always revert these changes later. Your goal here is to avoid potential extra charges that add extra injury to your loss. Amazon will probably allow you dispute those purchases, but why take the risk?
Deregister Your Device and Contact Amazon
The first thing to do is to get that missing Kindle off your account. Head on over to Amazon’s Manage Your Content and Devices. Select your missing Kindle and under Device Actions select Deregister. That prevents someone from making any changes to your account.
I’d do that before I contact Amazon. Amazon could have long hold times. You want to protect your Amazon account right away. When you call Amazon and report it stolen, they have the option of blacklisting it to others can’t register it. I’d only recommend that if you are sure it’s stolen.
You may also want to make sure that you cancel any active subscriptions through Amazon’s Subscription Center. Canceling the subscription will make sure that billing to your account stops. You always have the option of subscribing at a later date. You don’t want to keep paying a bill if you no longer have the Kindle.
Change Your Amazon Password
In theory, this isn’t necessary. You’ve already unregistered your Kindle so a thief can’t find your password. I worry about someone being able to find some digital debris of my password on there. Now that Amazon has two-factor authentication on accounts, I wouldn’t worry as much. On the other hand, regularly changing passwords isn’t a bad thing.
Report Your Kindle Stolen and How to Get it Back to You
Letting police and pawn shops know of your loss helps get the item back to you. That’s why you need the serial number. It could be weeks, months or even years, but it’s possible the device might return to you. Try posting on social media and online classifieds with a small reward. One nice site is KindleReunion.com that helps reunite lost Kindles.
Fortunately, I found my Kindle a few days later stuck between two pockets in my backpack. If you ever find yourself in the same situation, now you’ll know what to do.