How to Protect a Stolen Mobile Phone

With mobiles or cell phones becoming fancier, more popular, and more expensive, they are increasingly liable to theft. Even then, many thieves are more interested in accessing your wireless service and potentially, stealing your identity. Unless you want to deal with all the hassles of getting a new phone (or paying for unauthorized charges on your bill) you'd do well to find out how to ensure that your phone finds its way back to you or at least, how you can make it difficult for thieves to get anything out of it.


1. Keep details. Make a record of all your phone information and keep this in safe place. Include the following elements in the information:

Use the details recorded previously to report a crime

* Your phone number

* The make and model

* Color and appearance details

* The pin or security lock code

* The IMEI number (on GSM phones)

2.Mark your phone with ultra-violet pen

Mark the phone battery with ultra-violet pen

Add a security mark. Use an ultra violet pen to print your post code and house number onto both your mobile handset and battery. This makes it easily identifiable as your property if lost or stolen. It would also be good if you write your alternate contact number or email id on your phone. This would help the finder of your handset to contact you if he or she intents to return it. The ultra-violet pen marking will wear off every couple of months, so reapply it when you feel necessary.

3. Use the security lock code, or PIN feature, to lock your phone. This will make it less valuable to a thief and deny them access to personal numbers stored on your SIM card.

4. Register your phone with your network operator. If your phone is stolen, report the loss to them immediately. Using your IMEI number, they may be able to block your hand set and account details. Some wireless carriers are willing to do this, and some aren't. If done, this will prevent anyone from using the phone across any network, even if the SIM card is changed.

* Keep in mind that once the phone is disabled, it may not be able to be used again, even if you get it back.

* Keep records of this call--the date, time, name of the person you spoke to, what they said, and their extension. Ask for confirmation in writing that your phone has been disabled. This is important in case the thief makes fraudulent charges on your account.

5. Have your phone number disabled. In addition to reporting your phone lost or stolen, you should also disable your phone number (not account) so that no further charges can be applied. This is in case the thief figures out how to access your account through another hand set, or in case the carrier is unwilling to block the handset. Remember that, as mentioned earlier, many thieves stand to benefit from using your service rather than selling your phone, especially between the moment they steal it and the moment you realize your phone is missing.

As in the previous step, keep detailed records of when you requested your account to be disabled.

6. Request an immediate, formal investigation from your carrier. Sometimes this can prevent (or at least delay) the carrier from launching a collections effort and tainting your credit, if things get ugly.

7. File a police report immediately. Time is money, literally. A thief can add over US$10,000 to your cell phone bill in just hours by making international calls, and you might end up being asked to foot the bill. Some phone companies may require proof that the phone was actually stolen, versus it having been lost. A police report serves as evidence, which will make your wireless provider more cooperative, especially if insurance is involved.

If you continue to encounter problems with your wireless provider in that they are not disabling the phone or your account in a timely manner and insist that you cover the charges made by the thief, let them know that you intend to file a complaint with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), your state attorney general's office, and your state's public utility commission (PUC) (or the equivalent authorities in your country).


* IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity and is the 15 digit number unique to your phone, it can be found by looking beneath the battery or by keying in *#06# on most phones.

* If you are in the UK, the Home Office and Police advise you to also visit ImMobilise. This is free to join service allowing you to register your equipment against your contact details. If recovered, the police are able to access this information and return your goods.

* Placing a message on the mobile phone to the effect of "If phone stolen IMEI number will be reported" is normally enough for it to be dropped off to the local police station.

* Mobile phones are valuable, both to you and potential thieves, so take care when using them in public. Avoid having them on display, or talking on them in busy areas where they can be easily snatched.

* If you own a Nokia Series 60 phone (ex E61, 6620, etc) or some others you may enable a remote lock command. This permits you to send a text(sms) message to your phone to lock the phone remotely. On the E61 go to the Tools option in the Menu, then navigate to Settings, then navigate to Security, then Phone and SIM, then use the Allow remote lock. If it asks you for a password and you haven't entered any yet, then the password is 12345.

* At least on some Sprint phones (and maybe other carriers), if the default lock code is not 1234, it could be the last 4 digits of your cell phone number. For example, if your cellphone number is (123) 456-7890, the default lock code could be 7890.


* If you live in the USA, not all of these tips will work for you. Some US cell phone companies won't disable your phone using the IMEI number in this same manner.

* Never leave your mobile phone unattended. It only takes a second for it to be grabbed. Keep it secure and out of sight.

* Never reveal your PIN code or SIM Lock code under any circumstances, unless an authorized party is asking for it.

* Always keep your phone deep inside the internal pocket of your jacket or coat, whenever walking through any street.

* Don't lose your Security Code. Carriers can give you the PIN code, but the Security Code you set on your mobile can usually only be reset by having the software reset by the manufacturer. This means you'll have to visit a repair center or send the device off for repair.

* Keep in mind the possibility that you simply have misplaced your handset and that the person who has it intends to return it to you. Be polite in all circumstances, even if you suspect theft.

Things You'll Need

* A Mobile Phone

* A Service Provider

* IMEI Number

* Make, model, and colour of the mobile phone

* Any details regarding any ultra-violet pen markings etc.


subske said…
Thank you for the tips.. I will make sure that I follow this procedure should I ever loose my phone and also add it as a policy and procedure for my business..
reciperoblog said…
Hi, great bit of information. To add to it the free Immobilise registration service you mentioned is now also available in the US at Readers might also be interested in the CheckMEND ( service which allows buyers of second-hand goods to check property such as phones to see if they are blocked etc (there is a fee per check). This will also be available in the USA soon but it is worth noting that if a phone’s IMEI is clear in one country it might not be in another, so anyone that travels should be careful before buying. Before anyone wonders, yes I do work for the company that runs the Immobilize/Immobilise and CheckMEND services – check them out though they are reputable services which is easily confirmed by a web search.