Despite all the technological development that has evolved, the ‘unstealable’ mobile is yet to be designed, and with the increased functionality of our smart phones, comes an increase in mobile phone crime:
- There are 2 million phone thefts every year, with children and young adults the most likely victims.
- Mobile phone theft now accounts for about 45 per cent of all thefts on the London Underground.
- Two thirds of robberies are committed by offenders working in groups.
- About a half of all street robberies in Britain involve mobile phone theft and almost half of these victims are aged between 12 and 16.
Given that an increasing number of younger children are using mobile phones and apps, often carrying mobile phones for personal safety and keeping in touch, we need to ensure that we are not in fact endangering our children. We need to educate ourselves and our young people about the risks and how to reduce it and perhaps we should all be more diligent when using mobile phones.
The Out of Your Hands campaign offers some good advice.
To stay safe when you are out with your phone:
- Try to keep your mobile separate from your keys, purse or wallet.
- set your phone to silent and keep it in a pocket.
- In busy public places, keep your mobile in an inside pocket or hold it inside your bag.
- Don’t use your mobile in a place where you feel unsafe, unless it is an emergency. Move to a safer place if you can.
- Avoid alley ways and short cuts that are away from main roads – especially if you are alone.
- Always tell someone where you are going and what time you expect to be home.
Take special care anywhere crowded:
- On buses, trains and the underground
- Entering or leaving rail and tube stations
If you are buying a secondhand phone:
visit a site such as CheckMEND to find out if the item you’re buying has been reported lost or stolen. www.checkmend.com/uk
Register your phone
Your mobile network should have a way of blocking your phone within 48 hours of you contacting them, so the phone is then useless to anyone else.
Also special websites such as www.immobilise.com help to fight this type of crime and work to return property to its rightful owner.
When a mobile phone is made, it is given a unique electronic serial number known as the IMEI or International Mobile Equipment Identity. By registering this number with Immobilise, your mobile handset can be blocked if it is lost or stolen. This makes it unusable on any network.
Here’s what to do:
1.Dial *#06# on your mobile phone to display your unique IMEI number.
2.Make a note of it on the front of this booklet, then use it to register your mobile phone at www.immobilise.com
3.If your mobile phone is lost or stolen and you don’t know the number of your network provider, call 08701 123 123 for further information.
Even with the help of Immobilise we can’t stop thieves accessing the web from wifi enabled handsets, or more importantly, from accessing your personal details. So make sure you password or PIN protect sensitive information, or better still store it away from your handset in a password protected email account. You can also download the technology to track and even communicate with perpetrators using apps such as ‘Find My iPhone’, ‘lookout mobile security’ and ‘Norton mobile security’.
Make sure you stay safe when you are using your mobile phone!