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How to keep mobile devices out of the hands of thieves

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan
Posted:
Updated:
30/04/2013

The average Brit now carries around over £4,000 worth of technology on them at any one time. Follow our tips to keep what is yours, yours.

A recent report from the Office for National Statistics showed that crimes like pick-pocketing and mobile phone theft is on the rise.

According to Halifax, the average Brit now carries around over £4,000 worth of gadgets, so it’s now more important than ever to be vigilant when out and about.

Here are a few tips from the experts on how to keep your technology out of the hands of criminals:

Out of sight

At home keep any expensive items out of sight and locked away where possible. Smaller items such as tablets, e-readers and smartphones are relatively easy to put in a cupboard or drawer. Where possible, make sure bigger items such as flat screen televisions and audio systems can’t be seen from the street so they’re not advertised to would-be thieves.

On the move

Demand for portable items is high and they can be easily reprogrammed and resold, making them extremely attractive to thieves.

Reduce your reliance on your phone, tablet or designer headphones and it will be easier to be more discreet when using these items in public.

When you’re not using them, keep these valuables zipped safely in a pocket or bag. If they’re being kept in the car, make sure that they’re not in plain view.

Personal details

Don’t store account details, passwords, bank account numbers, PINs, credit card details or anything of that nature on your mobile phone if you can help it.

Use one of the numerous applications and programs designed for mobile devices that enable you to securely store and organise sensitive data/information if you must store sensitive information on your phone. 

Picture this

When you buy or receive a new, valuable device, make sure that you keep the receipts and take photographs of the item.

This will help to ensure that your insurance claim is processed as quickly as possible. If you’re storing this evidence electronically, make sure that it is backed up – either on an external hard drive or in cloud storage.

Note down your 15-digit IMEI

This is the International Mobile Equipment Identity on the back of a phone near the battery and is generally 15 or 17 digits long.

It can also be displayed on the phones screen by entering *#06# on the phones keypad. Having this number makes life easier if you ever need to tell the police identifying details about your phone. 

Password protected

While the value of a device might be high, the chances are that the information stored on it is even more valuable and harder to replace.

Make sure that you have different passwords on all devices and wherever possible, choose the option to wipe the data if the incorrect password is entered a certain number of items.

Make use of your phones keypad lock feature. Mobile phones have security lock codes that enable you to input a PIN number to access your device.

Make the number personal to yourself and ideally have the feature automatically activate after a specified time if possible, giving an extra layer of security and protection.

Back it up

Often a lost mobile device means a lot more than just a lost device – for most Brits it means a loss of pictures, calendars, notes and messages. Make sure you regularly back-up all the data to either an online storage system or something else at home. This way you still get to keep the essentials if something should happen.

Get it covered

If you have a device that runs into a few hundred pounds, it makes sense to get the right insurance for it. Read the small print for what your policy will cover before taking out the insurance.

Make your mark

Use an ultra violet pen to write your postcode on your valuable items to make them easier to identify. Register your phone with Immobilise – this registration enables the police to return the device back to you if it is ever recovered.

Keep your phones firmware up to date

This is the operating system (OS) for your mobile phone. Firmware updates deliver security patches and address the overall performance of your device.

So if any updates are available, it’s advised you update and take advantage of the latest safeguards and software improvements available to you.

Bar your phone from calling overseas

We recently saw a reader get hit with over £1,300 phone bill because fraudsters had got a hold of his phone and racked up calls to foreign numbers.

Get your service provider to bar you phone from making outgoing calls to international numbers.

On that note – if your phone is missing, get it in touch with your service provider ASAP. Why? Read the above.