Your mobile phone holds so much information about you and is a gateway to your personal and professional life. If your phone is lost or stolen, whoever gets their hands on it could get access to all your emails, photos, contacts, texts, and social media profiles.
For this reason it’s immensely important to keep your phone secure.
It’s just as important to protect yourself against accidental damage, as being without a phone for even just a few days can be quite the inconvenience.
The basics to keep your data safe
- Make sure your phone has a PIN number set on it to prevent unauthorised access, or is setup with Apple’s fingerprint security. It’s a good idea to choose a PIN which is not easy to guess, and not sequential numbers such as 1234. Don’t share your PIN number with anyone else, or keep it written down near where you keep your phone.
- If you are planning on selling your mobile phone, or giving it away to a friend or family member, it’s a good idea to do a complete factory reset first. Ensure you download all your photos, and make note of all your stored contacts details, before doing the factory reset. Remember you’ll also need to format or remove any memory cards in the phone.
Protect against fraudulent charges
Having your phone stolen and used can result in eye watering charges being incurred by the thief. This can be through both international and local calls, or exceeding the phone’s data usage limits.
If your phone is lost or stolen, the first thing you should do is call your cellular carrier and block your mobile & sim card. This can prevent further unauthorised charges being racked up.
It’s then a good idea to report your phone stolen to the police as soon as possible.
Many phone insurance policies protect against unauthorised use, up to a set amount. It’s a good idea to get a phone insurance quote when you purchase a new phone, and consider purchasing the policy if you feel it is good value for you. To help you decide whether phone insurance is a good idea, take a look at our Do I need phone insurance article.
If you do decide to purchase phone insurance, it’s great to be able to provide your insurance company your phone’s IMEI number (see below). If one day you need to make a claim, this may help to prove ownership and speed up the claims process for you.
Make note of your IMEI
Did you know that every mobile phone has a unique 15 digital code? This code is called an IMEI number, and can be used to both identify phones, and to block phones from being used by another person or phone company.
To find your IMEI number you can type *#06# into your phone, as if you were making a phone call. It will then appear on your screen.
It’s a good idea to make a record of your phones IMEI number, as it can be helpful if you need to make a claim on a phone insurance policy. The easiest way to do this is by typing in the number above on your phones call screen, taking a screenshot when the number appears, then emailing it to yourself. This way, if your phone is lost or stolen, you can recover your IMEI number from you email inbox via another other computer, tablet, or phone.
If you don’t have your device with you there are still ways to find your IMEI number:
Look on the devices packaging
If you still have your phone’s original packaging, the IMEI number is often printed on the back or sides of this. Look for a 15 digit number and it is likely to be your IMEI.
Look in your iTunes settings for Apple devices
If you have synced your iPhone with iTunes, then you should be able to view the IMEI number from within iTunes settings.
- Load iTunes and navigate to the Preferences tab.
- Click on the Devices button within this tab
- Go to the summary tab
- Click on your phone number twice. The second click should reveal the IMEI number for the phone you have synced with iTunes.
Look in your Google Dashboard for Android Devices
For people who own an Android Device (eg Samsung phones) then the following process can reveal your IMEI number.
- Open a web browser and navigate to myaccount.google.com/dashboard
- Sign in using your Google account
- Expand the Android tab once signed in
- This will reveal all Android devices that have been linked to your Google account, along with the IMEI numbers for these devices.
When taking your phone overseas, it typically won’t be covered by your contents or phone insurance policy. For overseas protection, you will need to look into purchasing a separate travel insurance policy for the duration of the time you are out of New Zealand.