Smartphone theft is on the rise all over the UK. Our usage is now so prevalent and constant that we’re rarely without our trusty gadgets, whether we’re on the tube, at the pub and even eating out. This makes our costly technology the perfect prey for pickpockets, muggers and thieves; smartphones are small, seemingly everywhere and we tend to take them for granted – until that moment when we pop our hand in our pocket and find only air…
As providers of clever, cost-effective mobile data, MobiData know a thing or two about intelligent smartphone usage. To help you combat the spate of smartphone stealing, they’ve put together a helpful handful of tips and tricks to keep your phone safe – and to help you track it down if it does go AWOL…
1. Get Zippy
No, we don’t mean run away really fast (necessarily…). We’re talking about your bag and your pockets. If you’re carrying your smartphone in a bag, make sure it is a bag which can be securely closed and fastened. A zip is the best protection. Do not keep your phone in an ‘open top’ shopper style bag or a drawstring backpack. Instead, the best type of anti-theft handbag is a zip-up shoulder bag. This makes it difficult for pickpockets to get under your arm to open the zip and nab your smartphone.
Equally, don’t keep your phone in an exposed unzipped pocket. These are easy to dip into. Instead keep it in inside jacket pockets or pockets which fasten securely. We’d even go so far as to recommend a bumbag, though 80s throwback fashion is not a security necessity.
2. Be Vigilant
Being aware of your surroundings is a key part of smartphone safety. Thefts are most common on public transport, just outside transport hubs, at tables in cafes and restaurants and in busy public places like shopping centres and clubs. To keep your mobile safe in these spaces take care not to ‘flash’ it around, being discreet with your gadgets makes you less of an obvious target. If you’re eating out, don’t leave your phone on the table in front of you as this makes you vulnerable to distraction theft.
3. Data Damage Control
Your smartphone is jam-packed with sensitive information about you. It’s not just text messages and photos, chances are your email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, Dropbox and Spotify accounts (to name a few) are all hooked up to smartphone central.
Firstly, make sure you’re securely password protected. Don’t just password protect your phone, also set up password access to your other accounts. Also, do not use a ‘pattern’ password – this is easy to guess when you look at greasy swipe marks on your screen. Use a secure pin instead. Secondly, as soon as your phone is stolen, make sure you change your password on all of your accounts. This will help to protect you from fraud.
4. Know Your IMEI
Knowing your phone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code could make all the difference if your smartphone gets pilfered. You’ll find this code on your original mobile packaging or you can find it out by dialling *#06#. On most mobiles this will bring up a 15 digit IMEI code on your screen.
This doesn’t work for every phone out there. If you have an iPhone, open Settings > General > About and you should find your IMEI there.
Once you know your code, it’s time to register it with a service like Immobilise. This is the UK’s National Property Register and could make it easier to get your phone back after it’s been pinched.