What should I do if my mobile phone is lost or stolen?

by Corinne Webb | Apr 29, 2019
Picture of theft of a gadget on a underground platform


We’ve all been there - the stomach churn when you notice your phone isn’t in your pocket. The increased heart rate when you check your bag and it’s nowhere to be found. The magnificent relief when Alex from accounts returns it after you left it in the staff kitchen when sneaking a donut. Easily done. 

But what if, heaven forbid, your phone was really lost or stolen? What steps should you take? Here are our top tips:

Double check it's not nearby

You can use apps like Find My iPhone or Find My Mobile and equivalents to remotely track the location of your misplaced device. This way you can make sure that it’s not just tucked away in a pair of jeans or down the back of the sofa (fingers crossed).

You can also use this handy software in other ways to safeguard your phone and data. For example, Find My Mobile for Android lets you remotely back up data to the cloud, lock the screen, block access to Samsung Pay and even delete all the data stored on your device. So, make sure you set this up immediately after you purchase the handset. This kind of remote tracking software is usually built in and free. Functions differ by make and model so make sure you read your user manual to discover what’s available on your specific phone.

Surprisingly, in a recent report* Protect Your Bubble found just 26% of people would remotely lock and wipe their phones using Find My iPhone or Find My Mobile if their phone was lost or stolen, leaving themselves wide open to cyber-crime. Risky business! 

Report it to your network provider

In the first instance, let your network provider know your phone is lost or stolen. They will be able to block your sim so that no one else can use it or make unauthorised calls. If you don’t let your network know, there’s a chance that someone could use your phone, run up a bill and you could be liable for the cost. If your mobile turns up again the network can usually unblock it. When reporting your phone as stolen to your network, request the IMEI number of the handset at the same time, as this will be useful for reporting the theft to the police.

Report it the the local police

With their high value and portability, mobile phones are prime targets for opportunist thieves. If you think your phone may have been stolen, it’s best to report it to the police station nearest to where the theft took place. Provide them with your mobile IMEI as this will help to identify your phone should it be found. Also, make sure to obtain your crime reference number for future updates and to pass onto your insurance company if you covered your device.

Change all your passwords

We heard that resounding groan! But with banking apps the norm and identity fraud an ever-growing threat, you can never be too careful. The thought of doing this is way worse than actually doing it, so play it safe and reset your passwords - particularly those for your social accounts, email and banking.

Our report also revealed that only 32% of people would change their social media, email and banking passwords after losing their device or having it stolen, again potentially exposing their valuable data to criminals. Living on the edge!

Preparation, preparation, preparation!

Advice about what to do after your phone is lost and stolen is all well and good, but the reality is, preparation is the key!

Make sure your remote access is set-up and make sure you’re fully versed with your tracking app. Note down your handset IMEI for ease when reporting theft or go one step better and register your mobile phone with Immobilise (a free possessions-register used by the UK police force to return stolen items to owners) in advance.

And of course, for true peace of mind, consider Protect Your Bubble mobile phone insurance. We can cover you for theft as standard and loss as an optional extra**


* Nationally representative survey of 1,001 UK residents aged 16 and over carried out Protect Your Bubble.com and Censuswide between 16 January 2019 and 21 January 2019. For more information please contact: Stewart Paterson, Rhizome Media T: 07496 026770| E stewart@rhizomemedia.co

**Terms and conditions, exclusions and excesses apply 


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