Criminals often use bikes and mopeds to snatch mobile phones from people, particularly at busy locations such as outside stations, shopping centres or concert venues. Often victims are approached from behind while talking or texting on phones. Criminals on mopeds or bicycles may mount the pavement to grab the phone or snatch it from the road. Sometimes when it’s a moped, a pillion passenger will snatch it.
While most thefts happen between six and ten at night, criminals operate during the day too, so always look out for what’s going on around you. Follow these simple steps to help protect your phone.
Be aware of your surroundings
- If you need to call or use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you. Look up, look out.
- Make it quick so you don't become distracted.
- Don't text while you're walking – you won't notice what's going on around you.
- If that's not possible, stand away from the roadside, close to a building or wall, so no one can come up behind you.
- Going hands-free can prevent a thief from snatching your phone out of your hand.
Use security features on your phone
- You must switch on your phone's security features to protect your phone.
- Use the keypad lock so that thieves cannot immediately access your phone, or use the biometric authentication if your phone has it (finger print or facial recognition).
- Your phone may have other security features you can use – these could allow you to wipe data, lock your handset, or prevent a thief from restoring a phone to its factory settings from another internet device.
- Consider installing an anti-theft app. These can be an effective way of helping police trace your phone and identify the thief.
Know how to identify your phone if it's stolen
- Every phone has an IMEI number which helps police and insurance companies to identify it if it's stolen. UK network operators can also stop a stolen phone from working across their networks with its IMEI.
- Find your IMEI number by dialling *#06# from your phone and keep a written note of it; if the phone is stolen, report the number to your mobile provider to stop it being used.
- Register your phone and other property at immobilise to help police recover stolen property and combat the sale of stolen goods. Police recover more than 2,500 items on average a month registered to the website.
Remember, never confront a thief or risk your own safety for the sake of your mobile phone.