Cyber Essentials Series Part 4: The Rise of Phone Theft and What to Do If Your Phone Is Stolen

Jul 3, 2024 | Cyber Security

Did you know that a phone is stolen every 6 minutes in London alone? In recent years, there has been a significant increase to the rise of phone theft in London in particular, causing numerous individuals to fall victim to this impactful crime. With the widespread use and reliance on smartphones for communication, navigation, financial transactions, data storage and secure access the theft of these devices has become a widespread concern. In this article, we look at the rise of phone theft and provide advice on what to do if your phone is stolen.

Factors Contributing to the Rise of Phone Theft

Several factors have contributed to the surge in phone theft. The technological advancements incorporated into our modern smartphones have made them highly desirable and valuable items. This desirability, coupled with their compact and portable nature, makes smartphones an easy target for thieves seeking quick and lucrative gains.

The common distraction of smart phones in public spaces also plays a significant role in facilitating phone theft. With targets often engrossed in their devices or holding their phone in their hand for directions, they may become less attentive to their surroundings, creating an opportunity for thieves to strike.

What to Do If Your Phone Is Stolen
In the unfortunate event that your phone is stolen, it is crucial to act quickly. These steps can help mitigate potential risks and increase the likelihood of recovering your device or safeguarding your personal data:

Remote Lock and Erase Data
The first and most important step (if you are able to do so) is to use remote tracking and security features. If these have been enabled, such as “Find My iPhone” or “Find My Device” for Android, use these tools to remotely lock the device and erase all sensitive data. This can prevent unauthorised access to your personal information.

Report the Theft
It is imperative to report the theft to the local authorities, such as the police, as soon as possible. Providing them with details of the incident, including the time, location, and any identifying features of the perpetrator can aid their investigation.

Inform Your Network Provider
Contact your network provider to report the theft and request that they suspend the service for the stolen device. This can prevent unauthorised usage and mitigate potential financial liabilities.

Change Passwords and PINs
If your phone contained access to personal accounts, such as email, banking, or social media, change the passwords and PINs associated with these accounts immediately. This can prevent unauthorised access and protect your sensitive information.

Monitor for Suspicious Activity
Keep a close eye on your financial accounts and personal information for any signs of suspicious activity. Make sure to report any unauthorised transactions or identity-related issues.

Beware of these common tactics used by thieves:
• Asking for directions
• Unlocked phones being used
• Phones left out on restaurant tables
• Phones being held
• Phones in pockets or other visible places


The rise of phone theft, especially in London, underscores the need for increased awareness and vigilance among smartphone users. It is essential to remain mindful of your surroundings, secure personal data, and promptly report theft incidents to the appropriate authorities to mitigate the impact of phone theft.

Visit our Cyber Security page for more information or call us on 01223 834844

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