If Santa was good to you, maybe you unwrapped a shiny new smartphone on Christmas morning.
Then again, perhaps you’ve already treated yourself to a ridiculously expensive device like Apple's iPhone X or Samsung's Galaxy Note8?
With the typical price for a top-end smartphone easily exceeding £600 - which is about the same amount you’d expect to fork out for a decent laptop - you won't want to lose it. That goes without saying.
Heck, even if you’re not one of those gadget junkies who like updating their smartphone every year or so, you STILL won’t want to lose whichever device you own.
Try as you might to avoid this, it does happen. And what then?
According to research, there's a 50/50 chance you'll find your lost smartphone if it goes walkies. Of course, from a glass half empty perspective, that means you're looking at 50/50 odds of never seeing it again.
Device insurance is always worth considering, then, and if your smartphone isn't protected by security losing your phone could mean thieves getting access to your personal information. And you don’t want that.
If the worst happens and you do lose your smartphone, you must report it to your mobile network immediately.
All UK mobile service providers promise limited liability, which means the most you'll pay for is the first £100 of any fraudulent calls. That’s provided you report the phone lost within 24 hours - any longer and you'll be liable for however much the fraudsters ring up.
Follow these simple steps to protect your mobile phone:
1. Use the security features provided
Most mobile phones have a range of security features that are intended to stop anyone else accessing and using them should they be stolen. 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) to be entered on the user interface of your handset to unlock it.
* 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.
However, these features will only protect your mobile phone if you have them switched on. Some of features may not be available on certain handsets.
For further details about what is available on specific handsets, follow the relevant link to the site of the manufacturer/software provider.
For BlackBerry 10 devices
For earlier Blackberry devices
2. Know how to identify your mobile phone if it is stolen
Each handset 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 identify your handset should it be stolen. UK network operators will also prevent a stolen handset from working across their respective networks if you can tell them the IMEI.
You can find your handset’s IMEI by:
* Typing *#06# into the keypad of your handset.
* OR looking inside the battery or SIM card compartment of your handset.
* OR looking on the side of the box, or on the associated paperwork, that you received when purchasing the handset.
3. Be aware of your surroundings
Consider the following when protecting your handset from opportunist thieves:
* Ensure you know where your phone is when you are in a busy location. Train stations, shopping centres - these places are popular with pickpockets especially if your handset is visible in an open bag or hanging out of your back pocket.
* Think about when you use your phone – outside train and underground stations are popular places for snatch theft.
* Never leave your mobile unattended in a public place.