A sad but true fact is that mobile phone theft is on the increase and it could happen to you regardless of where you live.
In the UK, more than 1 million websites were stolen during last year. In the same time period, more than 1 millions were also lost. When it comes to damage of mobiles 200,000 were sent through the washer, 400,000 were sent plummeting into a drink, and a whopping 600,000 mobiles were flushed down the toilet.
If you then add to that fact that more than 15,000 were left on buses or tube trains, these are not healthy numbers. Of course, the most you can do about damage is replace your mobile and hope that you have some sort of insurance protection. However, when you lose your phone, someone may just find it and be nice enough to keep it for themselves which could lead to high bills and money out of your pocket.
Two simple steps if your mobile goes missing?
Step 1 – Report it to the Police as soon as possible and ask for a crime reference number. This will help you if you need to make an insurance claim at a later date.
Step 2 – Notify your phone provider and let them know what has happened as they can block your phone from making any further calls almost immediately. Ask them to to block both your SIM and handset. At the same time, if your mobile phone is equipped with a GPS system, they may be able to help the police locate the mobile. To find the right number for your network, call the Immobilize information line on 08701 123 123.
Protecting your mobile
There are several steps you can take to make your mobile phone more secure, including keeping your phone out of sight when not in use and using the phone’s security features such as your phone lock and PIN number access. These features may stop people making unauthorized calls using your phone or SIM.
It is easy for your phone to “go walkabout” if you have a habit of putting it down on a pub table, or shop counter – so take extra care when you are out and about.
Keeping quiet – there are times when it is better to have your mobile on silent or switched to vibrate as popular ring tones easily alert a thief to the latest phone model you might be carrying in your pocket. Busy places such as tube stations, markets or sporting venues provide ideal places for thieves to disappear into a crowd so you should also consider silencing your phones in these areas. Thieves tend to be opportunistic so don’t make yourself an easy target.
The UK government runs a service called the National Mobile Phone Register which allows anyone to register their mobile phone (and other items of property) through their Immobilise.com website. Immobilise is a free service that allows you to record the details of as many of your possessions as you wish on a secure, offsite inventory. If you wish you can upgrade your free account and add photographs and certificates of ownership. The register is used by the Police and other authorities to trace stolen and lost property so it should be high on your list when your purchase a new phone. You will need your IMEI number or serial number which can be retrieved from any type of handset by keying in *#06# or alternatively remove the back cover and you will find your IMEI under the battery.
Simple security tips to keep your phone safe
– Never leave your phone unattended in your car
– Never put it down in a public place or leave it unattended – keep your mobile on you
– Keep your phone out of sight
– Be aware of your surroundings when using your phone, who’s watching you?
– Avoid using your phone in busy places such as railway stations and other public transport locations.
– Switch your phone to silent in circumstances where a ring tone might attract the attention of a thief
– Make use of your mobile’s security features
– Notify Police immediately, and ask you service provider to block both you SIM and handset in the event of loss or theft
– Never give your mobile phone to strangers who ask to use, look at or borrow it.