In recent years mobile phone and tablet thefts have seen sharp increases, according to the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, phone thefts account for around half of all street crime. It’s no coincidence that the increase in mobile theft is analogous to the growing value and capabilities of today’s smartphone and tablet. Technology is evolving fast; not so long ago the only use for our mobiles was to send texts and make calls. Fast-forward 10 years and our phones are used for anything from banking to social media to internet shopping. It is often forgotten that mobile phones can hold so much more value than the handset itself, many devices store valuable data such as photos, personal information, passwords and bank details. It’s easy to see why handsets have become such a tempting target for thieves.
So how can you keep your mobile phone safe?
Here are our top tips to secure your phone (and other essential gadgets):
Set up security features…
Mobile phones come with a range of security features but they only work if you turn them on – obvious really! So make sure to enable all these functions (go to the security settings on your phone or visit the manufacturer’s website for help):
Access control – PIN, password, pattern or biometric authentication
If you have an iPhone you can set up Find My iPhone or if you have an Android, a similar app can be found using Android Device Manager. This will allow you to track and also remotely lock or wipe your phone in the event that you lose it.
Home screen message function (so your contact details display if someone finds your phone).
Prevent unauthorised factory reset.
Find out your IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. This unique number is hardwired into your device during manufacturing. If it is stolen this number will help the police and insurance companies to identify your phone; it also means your network will be able to stop the phone from working. There are 4 ways to find out your IMEI:
Type *#06# into the keypad of your phone
Check the Settings > About of your phone
Look inside the battery or SIM card compartment
Check the box or paperwork you received when you bought your phone
It is important to regularly backup your data on a cloud service to avoid losing photos and other important data files from your phone.
While you’re out and about…
It is worth remembering, most thieves are opportunists and won’t hesitate to mug you for your mobile anywhere or any place.
Keep your phone and other devices out of sight in zipped bags or pockets while you’re out and about. Don’t put your phone in your back pocket.
Avoid using public charging stations whenever possible.
Don’t leave your phone unattended in a public place. This may seem blindingly obvious but a surprising number of people leave their phones on the table in pubs or cafes. It’s very easy for a thief to take your phone if you’re distracted even for a moment.
Take stock of your surroundings before using your phone. Crowded public spaces like train and underground stations are popular locations for phone snatching. And also …
… Don’t be a ‘phone zombie’! Walking along a busy street while totally absorbed in your phone makes you a vulnerable target for thieves. Worse, the value of the stolen device becomes even more as the thief does not need to unlock the device and can be wiped and sold as a new phone.
If the worst happens…
If your phone does get stolen despite all these precautions, report it to your network operator and the police as soon as possible and make a note of your crime reference number.
Having mobile phone insurance and iPad insurance in place gives you that extra peace of mind if you do find yourself the victim of phone theft. Here at Captain Cover we offer a comprehensive range of cover, all of which include theft as standard! You can be insured for theft amongst other things for as little as £4.49 per month, don’t leave your phone unprotected.