With the number of expensive smartphones that are in circulation, theft has inevitably become something that anyone who owns one has to think about. In 2012, mobile phone thefts across England and Wales numbered 107, 471, an eight percent rise on the previous year.
There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself should your handset be stolen, such as backing up all your data and saving your photos to a cloud storage account. But what steps should you take immediately after it happens? We’re put together a rundown of what to do if someone does ever steal your smartphone.
Contact your network
Your network will be able to put a block on your SIM card to stop anyone from making calls with it. They’ll also be able to give you plenty of information about what you need to do next, including how to get your hands on another handset.
Report it to the police
You’ll need to report any theft to the police, if for nothing else then so you’ll get a crime reference number that can be used to make an insurance claim. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau points out on its website that it may be better to go to a police station to report the theft, and only use a 999 call if you actually need emergency assistance at the time.
It’s also worth registering your device with a website called Immobilise, which is used by the second-hand retail industry to make sure stolen phones are not sold on to shops.
Track your handset
There are many apps that can track a stolen phone, and even allow you to send a message to the person who has it along with wiping your information. Hopefully you had one installed, and its something worth doing in preparation.
Wipe your data remotely
That tracking app that you hopefully had installed can likely also be used to remotely wipe the handset, and even disable it completely. This will mean that anyone who steals it will not have access to your personal data and may not be able to use the handset at all.
Change your passwords
Even after wiping your data, it’s a good idea to change all your passwords for things like your email accounts and social networks, along with any login details you have for internet banking. This is an extra step that won’t take too long to do and will make sure no one can access your information.
Notify your employer
If you had any work-related information on your phone, you’ll need to let your employer know about it in case this falls into the wrong hands. This could include emails from a work-based account that was registered on the device, or files stored on the handset. Also remember any work documents that you may have saved to a cloud storage service that could be accessed from your stolen phone.
Contact your insurance company
If your handset is insured, you’ll need to contact the firm that covers it to make a claim. This is where the crime reference number that the police gave you will come in handy, and they’ll be able to set you on the path to getting a replacement.
Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy your smartphone without it ever being stolen by someone else, but it’s worth also remembering that hackers can steal your data with having to get their hands on your phone. Take a look at our advice on making your phone more secure as well.