Currently Being ModeratedFeb 12, 2013 7:29 PM (in response to 4vervs)
For a remote wipe to succeed three things are required:
1. you have configured "Find My..." on the stolen iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (short iDevice).
2. the thief connects your iDevice to the internet without any change to its configuration.
3. the iCloud web site or app on another iDevice must have made contact with your stolen iDevice.
Then you will have the option to both locate your phone's current position and to erase all your personal data on your iPhone. If the located position is too old or inaccurate, the wipe command will be sent and executed as soon as the device's location is reaquired.
Unfortunately the functionality to "Find my..." seems to be one of the first things that get turned off on stolen phones usually by resetting the phone. The good news is: your data will be erased once the phone is reset; bad news: by then every ability to remotely connect to your phone will be gone as well.
Worse: should the thief decide to simply disable said functionality, you will also lose the ability to remotely connect to your stolen phone and your personal data on the phone remains intact.
All you can do then is to file a police report and hope for the best.
Depending on the sensitivity of the data stored on your iDevice, it is something between a good idea and an essential protection to enable a passcode lock via Settings, General, Passcode Lock. Choose a strong lock code and enable "Erase Data"
This will not make locating your stolen device easier, but at least your data will not fall into wrong hands.
Hope this helps,