The following advice will help you be mindful of mobile phone security and is based on information issued by the Home Office.

As we use our mobile phones for increasingly more tasks, so the threat becomes even greater if thieves manage to steal your mobile.

Nowadays is it not uncommon for us to us our mobiles not just for making calls and sending texts but also for diary management, social media, downloading music and films, banking and shopping, among other functionality.

As such, our mobile phones often contain valuable data, which can pose numerous risks if found by thieves.

We recommend you follow these simple steps to ensure your mobile phone is protected:

1. Use the security features provided

Most mobile phones have a number of security features that are designed to stop people accessing a phone and using it should it be stolen. In order for these security features to work it is essential that as the owner, you switch them on.

The security features include:

  • creating a PIN code that locks your handset
  • tracing the location of, wiping data from, or locking your handset remotely using another internet enabled device
  • needing to enter a separate password or account ID to prevent thieves from simply resetting your handset to its factory setting, and therefore resetting any codes or other security features you have set

The table below outlines some of the security features on offer from a number of major mobile phone manufacturers.

Vendor/OS PIN Locate handset Wipe data Block handset
functionality
Prevent unauthorised
reset of security features
Apple × × × × ×
Blackberry × × × × ×
LG × × × × ×
Samsung × × × × ×
Sony × × × ×  
Windows
Phone
× × ×    

For further details about what is available, please follow the relevant links to the manufacturer's/software provider's website below:

Apple

Blackberry

Google

LG

Samsung

Sony

Windows Phone

2. Know how to identify your mobile phone if it is stolen

Please be aware that you'll need to know more than just the model and colour of your handset.

Each handset manufactured for use in the UK has a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number (IMEI) hardwired into it during the manufacturing process. Knowing the IMEI will help the police identify your handset should it be stolen. UK network operators will also prevent a stolen handset from working across their respective networks if you can tell them the IMEI.

You can find your handset’s IMEI by:

  • typing *#06# into the keypad of your handset
  • OR looking inside the battery or SIM card compartment of your handset
  • OR looking on the side of the box, or on the associated paperwork, that you received when purchasing the handset

3. Be aware of your surroundings

Consider the following when protecting your handset from opportunist thieves:

  • Ensure you know where your phone is when you are in a busy location where you may not notice close contact with others e.g. concert venues, shopping centres, on public transport. These places are popular with pickpockets especially if your handset is visible in an open bag or hanging out of your back pocket.
  • Think about when you use your phone – outside train and underground stations are popular places for snatch theft, as people instinctively get their handsets out to check for signal and any missed calls.
  • Never leave your mobile unattended in a public place - you wouldn't leave your wallet or purse unattended in this way so don't leave your mobile phone on the table while you go to the bar to order a drink or go to the toilet.