Police advice on what to do if your mobile phone is stolen

Police have released advice on how to protect your mobile phone from theft '“ and the best ways to be protect your information if it is stolen.

Technology is allowing us to do more and more things through our phones – from shopping, to banking to social media.

Not only are our phones more valuable in themselves, but many of them will also contain valuable data, whether that’s downloaded music and films, the photographs you have taken, or other personal information.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

As a result, mobile phones can be a very tempting target for thieves, with the loss of a phone causing great inconvenience to the user.

However, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect your mobile phone against theft including:

· Use the security features provided.

· Be aware of your surroundings.

· Know how to identify it when the phone is stolen.

Security features

Most mobile phones have a range of security features that are intended to stop anyone else accessing and using them should they be stolen. However, these features will only protect your mobile phone if you have them switched on. These security features include:

· Requiring access control such as a unique code (a PIN, password or some form of pattern) or biometric authentication (such as fingerprint or facial recognition)

· Tracing the location of your handset using a remote service

· Wiping data from, or locking your handset remotely (for example, by using another internet enabled device)

· A function to display a home/lock screen message to someone who may find your handset to help you recover it.

· Preventing thieves from simply resetting your handset to its factory setting in order to bypass any unique codes or other security features that you are using to protect your handset

Being aware of your surroundings

Here are three simple things to consider in order to protect your handset from opportunist thieves:

· Busy locations such as concert venues, shopping centres, and public transport (where close contact with others is normal) are popular places for pickpockets, especially if your handset is visible in an open bag, or hanging out of your back pocket

· Thinking about when you use your phone – outside underground stations can be popular venues for snatch theft, as people instinctively get their handsets out to check for signal and any missed calls

· Don’t leave your handset unattended in public places - you would not leave your wallet unattended, but a surprising number of people leave their mobile phone on the table while they go to the bar to order a drink, or go to the toilet

Knowing how to identify your mobile phone if it is stolen

You need to know more than the model and colour of your handset. Each mobile phone 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 and insurance companies identify your handset should it be stolen. UK network operators will also prevent a stolen phone from working across their respective networks if they know its IMEI. You can find your handset’s IMEI by:

· Typing *#06# into the keypad or dialer of your handset

· Looking inside the battery or SIM card compartment of your handset

· Looking on the side of the box, or on the associated paperwork, that you received when purchasing the handset