Lost your phone or had it stolen? We're here to make a bad situation better. Here's all the info you need on what to do next...
‘Prevention is better than cure’, a saying which is especially true when it comes to keeping your smartphone safe from loss or theft while you’re out and about – whether you’re travelling around the UK or abroad.
When you’re in public places – from pubs and parks to piers and piazzas – don’t be so engrossed in your smartphone that you and your property become easy targets for opportunistic thieves. In the words of a Metropolitan Police campaign – Look Up and Look Out! – not flashing one’s valuables about and being aware of one’s surroundings may both be hoary, time-worn bits of advice, but they’re still as true as they ever were.
If you’re travelling abroad, it’s worth checking the UK government’s foreign travel advice website for details about your destination – specifically the ‘safety and security’ section on the webpage for each location. If you’re travelling to a destination with a crime problem, then following the recommended precautions would be wise.
What to do if your phone is lost or stolen
Losing your phone, or having it stolen, can be really stressful, which is why at Vodafone UK we want to make sure that everything afterwards is as smooth, quick and stress-free as possible.
So we’ve made the process of reporting and blocking a missing phone fast and easy.
- If you’ve lost your phone, contact Vodafone straight away so we can bar the SIM card. This will ensure no-one can make calls, send texts or use the data on your number.
- Order a new SIM card.
- You may be able to pinpoint your phone’s location via GPS and recover it. If you have an iPhone, it can also report its location to you through the Bluetooth connections of any other iPhones it comes close to, as well as through GPS. Apple calls this encrypted crowdsourcing feature the Find My network.
- Set up phone tracking in advance by following these instructions from Apple and Google. You will then be able to check the last known location of your phone from another iOS or Android device as well as by using a web browser on your computer.
- If you have a Samsung Galaxy Android phone, you can also set up and use Samsung’s Find My Mobile service instead of, or in addition to Google’s service.
- It has some additional features that may prove useful if you lose your Galaxy phone, such as the option to remotely check if anyone has used it for phone calls or texts.
- If you’re sure it’s been stolen, report this to us and we’ll have the device blacklisted. This means it won’t be usable on any mobile network, even with a different SIM in it. We do this by adding its unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number to an industry database.
- Report the theft to the police so you can receive a crime reference number. You’ll need this if you make a claim on your insurance policy.
- DO NOT use any “find my phone” feature to track and confront the alleged phone thief as this could put you in danger.
How to contact Vodafone about your lost or stolen phone
- Click through to our dedicated Lost or Stolen page on the Vodafone UK website.
- Use TOBi, our digital assistant, on the Vodafone UK website.
- If you have Vodafone Insurance, contact our team.
Top security tips
- Keep a record of your smartphone’s IMEI number. This may be printed on your phone’s box or packaging. Alternatively, type *#06# on the number pad of your phone’s dialling app to see its IMEI number.
- Register your phone on the Immobilise website, a free UK-wide register of possession ownership details. In the event that police recover your phone, they’ll know who to return it to.
- Back up your phone’s data. You can automatically set up your Android phone to back up its contents to your Google account. Instructions on how to do so can vary depending on which specific Android device you own, but Google’s instructions will apply to most modern Android phones.
You can set up your iPhone to automatically back up its contents to your iCloud account. Alternatively, you can connect your iPhone to your computer and store your backups there instead.
- You can also remotely lock down your device using the ‘find my’ services from Apple, Google and Samsung, so that no one else can use it. In the case of iPhones, you have the option to display a lost-and-found message on the lock screen with your contact details in case a good Samaritan finds your iPhone.
- If you’re worried that someone may have accessed your personal data while the phone was lost or stolen, change passwords for all your online accounts: email, social media, online banking. This is much easier to do if you set up and use a password manager.
Consider getting insurance
It’s always possible that your waylaid phone can’t be recovered. For peace of mind in such an unfortunate event, consider taking out Vodafone Insurance. If you take out the highest level of cover, the flexible policy will replace your phone, not only if it’s lost or stolen, but also if it’s damaged or breaks down.
If your claim is accepted, then a replacement phone will be dispatched to your UK address, even if your phone is waylaid while you’re abroad, by next-day delivery.
Bear in mind that if you have an iPhone, you must buy Vodafone Insurance within 60 days of purchasing your iPhone. If you have an Android phone, you can purchase Vodafone Insurance as long as your handset is less than 18 months old.
Learn more about Vodafone Insurance and get a quote for your device.
This article was originally published in October 2019 and was last updated in July 2023.