What To Do When Your Kindle Or Kindle Fire Is Lost Or Stolen

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Hey, Thief Who Took My Son’s Kindle Fire: Think you just got a free tablet you can use to order all kinds of stuff on MY Amazon account? Not so fast.

 

When you lose your Kindle or Kindle Fire, believe it or not the loss of the device is not the worst part. No, that would be the fact that your Amazon account is now vulnerable to wrongful charges from anyone who finds your missing gadget. There is a tiny bit of good news, though: as always, Amazon’s exceptional Kindle customer service reps stand at the ready to prevent this from happening.

Note: if you’ve already gotten your lost or stolen device back, see this follow-up post: What Happens If You Get Your Lost Or Stolen Kindle / Fire Back?

 

The Thief Not Only Gets A Nifty E-reader Or Tablet, But Full Access To Charge Stuff To Your Amazon Account, Too

Remember when you first got your Kindle or Fire, and you “registered” it to your Amazon account? When you did that, you connected the device to your Amazon account. This makes it possible for you to access your ebooks, digital videos, digital music and apps, and also enables purchases of new Amazon stuff through your Kindle or Fire.

This is great when the Kindle or Fire is in your possession, but when it’s in the hands of someone else, it can be very, very bad because unless you’ve placed a password lock on your device and/or set the “require Amazon password” option for any purchases made from your Fire, anyone who has it can now use it to place orders on Amazon—or even change your Amazon password to lock you out of your own account.

Most people do NOT place a password lock on their Kindles or Fires, because it gets to be a bother having to enter a password every time you turn the thing on. Those who don’t share their device with others also tend to think there’s no need to set up the “require Amazon password” option for purchases. Also, most of us keep our Kindles or Fires close at hand so we don’t tend to worry about nefarious characters getting ahold of them.

The Fire that got away in my case belonged to my son, and it was not password protected.

 

This is just one of the many Amazon Digital Videos in my collection the thief will NOT be enjoying on my son’s Kindle Fire.

 

Call Amazon, RIGHT AWAY!

The sooner you call Amazon, the less likely it is that you’ll be victimized. Go to Amazon’s Help page, click on the button to specify you need help with a Kindle, and then select whatever you want in the drop-down boxes where you’re required to describe your issue or problem. There aren’t any selections there for dealing with a lost or stolen Kindle or Fire anyway, you really just need to jump through a couple of hoops here to get a live human on the phone.

Use the ‘call me’ option, specify ‘now’ for the call time, and enter your phone number; an Amazon Kindle rep will be right with you. Tell the rep your device was lost or stolen, and the rep will take care of the rest.

 

What The Amazon Kindle Rep Can Do To Protect You AND Make Your Device Useless To Thieves

You may be thinking that, because it’s possible to de-register any Kindle device you own all by yourself on the Manage My Kindle page under My Account on the Amazon site, there’s no need to get a Kindle customer service rep involved. But while it’s true that de-registering the device on your own will prevent anyone who finds it from accessing your Amazon account, letting an Amazon rep do it for you provides two additional, crucial benefits: the ability to remove any wrongful purchases from your Amazon account, and REVENGE!

When you call in, be sure to ask the rep if there have been any recent charges to your Amazon account. The rep will be able to look up recent orders, and remove any fraudulent charges from your account if necessary. But there’s one more thing they can do for you that’s even better…

 

Lock it up!

 

Every Kindle and Fire has a unique serial number, and Amazon identifies each machine by its number. When you report your Kindle or Fire lost/stolen to the Amazon rep, he or she will de-register it from your Amazon account (basically deleting your Ammy account information from the device) AND register its serial number as belonging to a lost or stolen device. The rep will also send you an email with the lost/stolen device’s serial number: KEEPĀ THIS INFORMATIONĀ FOR FUTURE REFERENCE. You will need it if you ever get that missing device back (see next section).

Once your device has been flagged as lost or stolen, Amazon will be notified when anyone tries to re-register that specific machine to any Amazon account, and will not allow it. A Kindle or Fire that’s not registered to an Amazon account is useless, and if all us Kindle / Fire owners routinely report our lost and stolen devices to Amazon like this, it won’t be long before thieves realize there’s no point in stealing them in the first place.

 

What If You Find Your Kindle or Fire Later?

If your device turns up at some point after you’ve reported it as lost or stolen, look up that serial number the Amazon rep sent you, then follow the same steps to get an Amazon Kindle rep on the phone to re-register it. The rep will ask you some account security questions to verify your identity, and then you’ll be back in business.

 

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22 Comments

  1. Comment by Lydia Rangel:

    Great information, thanks.

  2. Comment by Debbie Maute:

    Thank you for this very important information! It is great to know that not only I will be protected but that the thief will have a device that is completely useless. Most important is to not lose it in the first place and I don’t use my password but I will start using it whenever I take it out of the house from now on.

    • Comment by zarni0:

      it’s not useless unfortunately….

      • Comment by Mom:

        As it says in the article, it may not be useless but use is limited to only what’s currently on the device and therefore it’s severely handicapped. Whoever picked up my son’s Kindle Fire decided it wasn’t even worth keeping and turned it in to airport lost and found—but only after a couple weeks of trying to use it.

  3. Comment by Katherine A. Kaplan:

    Thank you very much for this helpful information! I hope I never have to use it, but at least I know what to do just in case.

  4. Comment by waffo:

    Thanks. I lost my Special Offers Kindle just two days ago and just went through the above information now. I did deregister it myself but wrote down the serial number and told the Amazon rep (through live chat instead of calling) the serial number. It has the option to send a transcript of the chat to your email so that you’ll know what was said, including your serial number too.

    I mainly wanted to do this so that no one can use my Kindle to purchase things but is it true that you can’t do anything with a Kindle unless it’s linked to an Amazon account? That’s even better for the thief who walked off with my Kindle.

    Now if only whoever stole it decided to return it so that I could have everything back to normal…

    • Comment by Mom:

      All the content that’s on a Kindle or Fire is tied to a specific Amazon customer account. When you de-register the device, the next time anyone turns on its wifi connection Amazon will delete/block all the content on it until it’s re-registered to a new Amazon account. Since reporting the loss flagged my son’s Fire as lost/stolen, nobody will be allowed to register it to a different Amazon account: it can only be re-registered to my account, and only by me because Amazon will require me to answer account security questions before they’ll re-register it.

      So long as the thief doesn’t turn on wifi, he or she will still have access to the content that was actually downloaded to the device (and my son didn’t have much downloaded to his Fire), but nothing from my Cloud libraries. And as soon as the thief turns on wifi, even the stuff that was actually downloaded to the device will be blocked or deleted, too. So yes, I’d say the device is pretty useless to whoever has it right now.

  5. Comment by DMD:

    Amazon was great! Revenge :-) At least something good comes out of this. Needless to say, I won’t be staying at that particular hotel again. So disappointed in housekeeping!!!

  6. Comment by Faye:

    Mine was just stolen, and the second call I made (after the police) was to amazon for deactivation because of potential charges. What I was wondering was if the thieves could possibly reconstruct my credit/debit card number from purchases made online? Should I cancel them and change the numbers?

    • Comment by Mom:

      It doesn’t seem likely. In order to even view past Amazon purchases, you must login to your Amazon account. Pretty much any time you want to make a purchase or do anything Amazon account -related, the Fire prompts you to login. Since the thief shouldn’t have your login credentials, he or she should not be able to login.

  7. Comment by Karen:

    My daughter, who had a Kindle Fire first asked me why I had my Kindle password protected. Going to send her the link to this page so she will know why! Thanks for posting this.

  8. Comment by Deb:

    Do you have any suggestions regarding a stolen kindle that was never registered? This device was stolen out of our home, and the thief left the box behind.

    • Comment by Mom:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t think there’s anything you can do because the serial number only gets tied to your Amazon account when you register it. There would be no way for Amazon to put any kind of lock on the device without the serial number. If you still have your packing slip, it’s possible the serial number of your device is listed there. In any event, it wouldn’t hurt to contact Amazon Kindle Support, just to confirm this. Login to your Amazon account, go to Your Account > Manage Your Kindle and click the Help link at the top of the page. On the Help page, there should be a large, yellow “Contact Us” button in one of the sidebars.

    • Comment by Jerry:

      Deb, the serial number is on the box it starts with FSN you can report that serial number stolen and it will be put on the lost/stolen list

      • Comment by Mom:

        Jerry – You’re right that the serial number is on the box, but I didn’t suggest this because it might not be possible for Deb to prove she ever owned that specific device if she never registered it to her Amazon account. It’s worth a try, though. I know Amazon doesn’t lock in a specific device serial number when you first place the order, but they might do so when it ships and they scan the barcode at the fulfillment center.

  9. Comment by Tammy:

    Thank you soooo much for this info. My kindle fire disappeared a year ago and about 2 days ago I started getting emails about apps (free ones) being downloaded. I was confused until I researchd and saw they were for the missing kindle. My husband was going to de-register it but calling Amazon to disable it is such a better idea!

  10. Comment by cyberhec:

    Great info, HOWEVER, if you deregister it, it is lost forever. The person who found it will have no way of finding out about you. Amazon will not put them in touch with you. If you simply change your password, they may still be able to see your email address and contact you (I think).

    • Comment by Mom:

      I still think it’s safer to call Amazon and deregister, because if you don’t there’s a risk of the person who finds it accessing your Amazon account to make unauthorized purchases or collect your personal data.

      • Comment by cyberhec:

        If you change your Amazon password, how would the person collect personal data?

        • Comment by Mom:

          If there’s a gap between the time you change your password and the time your Fire is in someone else’s hands, and you haven’t set your Fire to always require a password for purchases, the person who has it can use it to go to ‘your account’ on Amazon through the device during that gap period.

          • Comment by cyberhec:

            Hi Mom. I’m not familiar with the Kindle Fire (I had a Paperwhite). But you are right, of course. I assumed it’s much quicker to change your password than to report the device stolen. In either case, you need to be active in some way, either change your password or report lost/stolen without the possibility of getting it back.

  11. Comment by Nate:

    Ours was lost or stolen. I sent a message to the device with my contact information, just in case it fell into the “right” hands. You’re able to see (while managing your kindle accounts) “Pending Deliveries” and my note was never downloaded for a couple months. Then, it was gone, and my Kindle was no longer listed. So, someone had de-registered the Kindle from my account from the Kindle.

    At that point, since it wasn’t on my account, there was no credit card risk (that I know of), but I still wanted the Kindle back! When I called Amazon, while trying to figure out my options, the Customer Svce. Rep. de-activated the Kindle. At that point, my understanding is that the Kindle can’t be used by anyone, and if I ever get it back, I’ll be able to call, and provide personal info. that would allow Amazon to re-activate.

    All well and good, but NO good if you want to catch the person who has it. So, in hindsight, (and where Amazon becomes LESS helpful) I should have allowed the person to re-register it (by checking in periodically w/Amazon), then once registered, attempt to get the town/city of the person who re-registered it … Amazon WILL NOT give ANY personal information on who has registered your Kindle. But, you can’t file a police report in a town where the police don’t have jurisdiction. So, my plan was to wait for the person to re-register, beg Amazon to JUST provide the town they live in, solely for the purpose of filing a report w/the police in the right town.

    Amazon claims that if they are contacted by the police, THEN they can release personal information on the person who has your stolen device, but they won’t give it to you. And, once it’s de-activated, this avenue for possibly getting the device back disappears, because anyone who tries to re-activate the Kindle won’t have any of the required personal information necessary. Paperwhite becomes Paperweight!

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