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Advice guide - Mobile phone security

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Keeping your mobile phone safe

Did you know up to 10,000 mobile phones are reported stolen in the UK every month?

Whatever you use your phone for, be it to keep in touch with family and friends, for taking photos and videos, using social media, or for business purposes, you won’t want to lose your phone numbers and other data stored inside.

Follow the advice on this page to help prevent your mobile phone from being stolen.

Securing your phone

  • Never leave your phone unattended.If you have to leave it, make sure it’s secure, out of sight and can’t be heard.
  • Don’t draw attention to your phone by leaving it on view on tables in pubs, cafes and restaurants. A tactic used by thieves is to place newspapers or other items over the phone and scoop it up. They sometimes distract phone owners by asking for directions and taking the phone when they are not looking.
  • Don’t leave your phone unattended in coat pockets or bags.
  • Lock the keypad using a PIN number or pattern code when you are not using your phone. This means it can’t be used to make calls or access your personal data, such as emails and social media accounts, if it is stolen. Use random numbers instead of birthdates or other guessable formats.
  • Regularly back up your data, contacts and photos in case your phone gets damaged, lost or stolen.
  • Record your IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity) somewhere safe. To find out what yours is dial *#06# on your phone or look in the settings on your smartphone.
  • Registering your details makes it more likely that you will be reunited with your phone if it is stolen and later recovered by the Police.
  • If your phone is stolen - report it to the Police immediately. Tell them your IMEI number, if you have any tracking apps installed or any markings on your phone. Tell your insurer and service provider too.
  • Mark your phone, battery and accessories with your postcode using an ultraviolet marker pen. If your phone is stolen and later recovered by police this will make it easier to reunite you with it.
  • Set it to lock after one or two minutes without use.
  • Carry a charger wire or portable charger to make sure you are topped up when required.
  • Avoid saving any personal/sensitive information on your phone.
  • Consider turning off geolocation services in camera apps and your mobile settings. Turn it on only when you need to use it. It will also increase your battery life.

Smartphone security

Smartphones have a range of security features that are intended to stop anyone else accessing and using them should they be stolen. Some of these features are:

  • access control i.e. PIN, password or some form of pattern or biometric authentication (such as fingerprint or facial recognition)
  • remote tracing the location of your handset
  • remote wiping data from, or locking your handset
  • 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

You can find more information about your phone's security features in the following places (NOTE: The Home Office has no control over the contents of those sites or resources, and accepts no responsibility for them or for any loss or damage that may arise from your use of them):



For earlier Blackberry devices







Windows Phone

Get more advice on preventing many crimes on our crime prevention guides page.

To speak to our Crime Prevention Unit about protecting your property and reducing your chances of becoming a victim of crime, email Nphub@nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk

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