You And Your Mobile Phone Security
According to Liverpool Victoria (LV=)
- Mobile phone theft has risen by 25% in the past three years (2010, 2011,2012);
- Every day 264 mobile phone robberies are reported to the Police;
- Over half of mobile phone thieves are in their teens with some of those caught as young as nine years old;
- Only 1% of stolen phones are ever recovered by the Police
In this article brought to you by SIMsurprise.co.uk we offer you some tips and advice on keeping your Mobile Phone safe and secure.
Many Mobile Phones are stolen every year.
Some mobile phones are stolen to sell on - others are stolen so that the thief can use your phone themselves.
Some mobile phones are stolen "randomly" - stolen and then a buyer is found afterwards.
Other mobile phones are stolen to order - the thief has a buyer lined up before your phone is even stolen - this gives the thief a quick turn around - bad for you but good for the thief because the phone changes hands very quickly making it harder to recover your phone.
Some mobile phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are stolen for export.
After they have used up your Pay As You Go credit the thief will then sell your phone.
If you have a contract phone you may find that you receive a bill for calls that you have not made, or for browsing the Internet.
There are steps you can take to keep your Mobile Phone (and bank account) safe from such unscrupulous activity.
- Be discreet;
- Hide your mobile phone;
- Mark your phone
- Use security locks;
- Register your phone;
- Record your Phone IMEI number;
- Take out mobile phone insurance;
- Set up call barring;
- Install, and regularly update, Internet security;
- Keep up-to-date.
Do not store the following types of details as messages or contacts:
Bank account numbers;
Answers to "secret" questions.
Try not to attract attention to your phone when you are using, or carrying, your phone in the street,
People might see your phone and wait for an ideal time to steal it - perhaps even using a distraction technique.
Consider using a hands-free kit that is available for most, if not all, mobile phone makes and models - this gives two benefits while using your mobile phone:
- Both hands are free to assist in defending yourself - the author suggests using "Reasonable force" only to avoid any possible prosecution for using unreasonable, or disproportionate, force or action(s);
- Your handset can remain concealed, for example inside your pocket.
Hide your mobile phone
Also see the section above - Be Discreet.
Many Mobile Phones are stolen when they have been left on view in an unattended motor vehicle, or left on view at the top of your handbag.
If you use a mobile phone holder mounted on the inside of your car windscreen - remove the holder when you leave your car.
Also, clean off any marks that your phone holder may have left on the inside of your windscreen - why ? This also removes any "evidence" that you may have left expensive equipment elsewhere in the car.
Even if you have taken your mobile phone (or Sat Nav) with you - the thief will not know this until after breaking into your car and looking.
Keep your mobile phone separate from your purse, wallet, handbag, briefcase, or other bag containing valuables.
If an opportunist thief targets your handbag, or briefcase for example, not only will the thief "acquire" your purse or wallet, they will also acquire your mobile phone.
The less a thief is able to obtain with the single swipe of one bag, or briefcase for example - the better.
Mark your phone
Placing a mark in a discreet place using an ultraviolet marker can help to identify your phone if it is subsequently recovered.
An ultraviolet marker places a mark which is invisible to the naked eye, but can been seen under an ultraviolet light.
You might choose to write:
Your phone number;
Any other unique memorable word, phrase, number or symbol.
Write your unique word, phrase, number. or symbol somewhere such as inside the battery compartment.
Front and rear phone covers (fascia) can often be replaced quite easily in a matter of minutes so marking these parts can defeat the objective if the thief replaces these parts.
Also, even if the thief has no replacement fascias for immediate fitting, the original fascias can be discarded in a matter of seconds only to be replaced at a more convenient time to the thief.
Use security locks
Use your handset security PIN code.
This can reduce the chance of your phone being used by someone else if your phone is stolen.
Do not store your PIN code(s) on paper, or written, inside the battery compartment - battery compartments can easily be opened to check for storage of such information.
If your phone is not key-pad protected, you could find that someone else has access to your contacts list, text messages (sent and received), and make calls to expensive premium rate telephone numbers.
Register your mobile phone
There are a number of businesses that offer a phone registration service.
Registering with such a business can help the police to return your phone to you if (when) your phone is recovered.
When registering your phone with a registration business there may be the facility upon registering your phone to include such details as the secret security mark(s) - these can be used to help track the rightful owner.
One such property registration provider is Immobilise.com
Record your mobile phone IMEI number
Your phone handset has a unique number, typically 15 digits long, which is transmitted to the Network, each time your mobile phone is used.
Recording your phone as lost or stolen, and reporting your phone IMEI number can mean your phone gets blocked from use until your phone is reported as found / returned.
Your IMEI number can quite often be found inside your phone battery compartment, on the phone packaging, or with some handsets by dialing *#06# (star hash number zero number six hash).
When you take a note of your phone IMEI number - keep this in a safe place, separate to your phone.
Our article IMEI and Phone Identity goes into greater depth about your phone IMEI number.
Mobile phone insurance
Taking out insurance can be a worthwhile investment.
Spending a little extra to help in the event that your phone is lost or stolen can give a little peace of mind after you have spent, perhaps, a few hundred pounds on your new pride and joy.
Some banks offer free cover for mobile phones, up to a maximum value, subject to having a certain level of bank account with that bank.
Some insurance policies state that you must report any thefts within a specific time frame, for example 24 hours - so ensure you do so or your insurance company may decline to pay out against your claim.
If you wish to consider insuring your mobile phone you might like to consider Gadget Cover who insure against:
- Loss (Mobile Phones and Portable/Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs);
- Accidental Damage;
- Liquid Damage;
- Worldwide Cover;
- Extended Warranty.
Gadget Cover are a specialist insurance provider for everyday electronic items which you carry with you wherever you go, including Mobile phones, PDA's, Laptops, iPods, MP3's, Camera's, SatNavs and more.
Gadget Cover have over 16 years of experience in the insurance sector and pride themselves on the quality of service that they offer their customers.
Insurance can be bought for a single item or up to 5 items at a discounted rate.
Many mobile phones have a call barring feature.
When set up, this prevents calls from being made for example to premium rate phone numbers.
Mobile Internet Security
Many modern mobile phones are just like your personal computer, or laptop.
Take the same precautions with you mobile phone while using your mobile phone to access the Internet, and emails.
If you access your emails on your mobile phone, do not click on any links that you are unsure of, or do not trust.
The same caution applies to visiting websites on your mobile phone as on your personal computer or laptop.
*Mobile security firm Trend Micro has warned the threat from viruses on smartphones will increase in 2013.
*According to Trend Micro, malware targeting Android increased nearly sixfold in Q3 (July to September), up from around 30,000 malicious and potentially dangerous applications, to more than 175,000.
*Risks include espionage to gain private information from the phone, aggressive advertising which cannot be removed and spam.
*Research by Trend Micro shows that the UK is not in the list of the top 10 ‘victim countries’ which is headed by the United States, Japan and South Korea. However, the United Kingdom is eighth in the list of leading malicious site-hosting countries.
* Source: Mobile News UK
As with viruses, your mobile phone is like your personal computer, or laptop, your phone has an operating system which is like the brain of your mobile phone.
As new threats to security reveal themselves, your mobile phone operating system developers often release updates, or patches, to remedy the noted weaknesses that new viruses, and other threats, have brought to light.
What do I do if my mobile phone is stolen ?
- Report the theft to the Police - obtain a Crime Reference Number;
- Report the theft to your Insurance Company (Police Crime Reference Number might be requested);
- Report your Phone as stolen to your network provider and have the IMEI number listed as stolen;