Many websites send security codes to your phone number to confirm your identity when signing in. You may use apps that generate security codes on your phone, too. But what happens if you lose your phone?
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Get Your Phone Number Back
You can try using recovery methods to access your accounts immediately without your phone number. However, you’ll probably want to get your phone number back sooner rather than later.
Your cellular carrier can help you immediately associate your phone number with another new phone. Even if you don’t want to buy an expensive new phone immediately, you can get a phone to tide you over. You might want to dig an old phone out of your drawers or borrow one from a friend or family member. Even an old flip phone will do in a pinch. And, if you’re looking for a new phone, you can always buy a cheap Android phone.
After you have a phone, your carrier can give you a new SIM card tied to your account and you can instantly regain access to your phone number. All you have to do is go to your cellular carrier’s store and you can get your phone number back on the spot—they’ll be happy to sell you a phone if you want that, too. If you don’t have a store nearby, contact your cellular carrier’s customer service.
If you already have some sort of cell phone insurance through your cellular carrier or another source, it may even partially cover a replacement. We don’t necessarily recommend it, though—we think carrier insurance plans are a bad deal. AppleCare+ is a better deal, but it doesn’t cover lost or stolen phones.
Forward Your Old Phone Number
If you don’t want to get a new phone immediately, you may be able to forward calls from your old phone number to another phone number. Cellular providers let you set up call forwarding so calls directed at your old phone number will be forwarded to a number of your choosing.
However, there’s no way to forward SMS messages, which means you can’t receive those texted security codes. Luckily, many—but not all—services provide the option of calling the phone number they have on file and speaking a security code. That will work with call forwarding.
Consult your cellular carrier for more information on setting up call forwarding. Verizon lets you enable call forwarding online from your computer. AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile only provide instructions for enabling call forwarding from your phone,…
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