What to do if your mobile phone is lost or stolen
Report your missing phone to your network provider
You should tell your network provider straight away if your phone is lost or stolen, so they can block it and stop anyone else using it. If you don’t tell them straight away you might have to pay for any unauthorised phone calls, which can be very expensive.
If your phone’s been stolen, ask your network provider for the phone's identification number (IMEI) - you’ll need to give this to the police.
If you find your phone your network provider will normally be able to reactivate it.
If your phone is stolen
You should report it to your local police station as soon as you can by calling 101 or going in person.
Your network provider will give you your phone's identification number (IMEI), which you should pass on to the police.
Make a note of the crime reference number - you’ll need it if you want to claim on insurance.
Paying for unauthorised calls
If someone else runs up a big bill on your phone you’ll usually have to pay for the cost of the calls up until the time you reported the phone missing.
Some phone networks will only charge you a maximum of £100 if your phone is lost or stolen, as long as you report it within 24 hours. This only applies for monthly contracts - if you have a pay-as-you go contract, you might not get a refund for any credit that’s used before you report the loss.
If your network charges you the full amount for the calls made before you reported it, you should ask if they can reduce the bill. Sometimes they’ll do this as a gesture of goodwill but they don’t have to.
If your network provider tries to charge you for calls made after you reported the phone missing, you should dispute the bill.
If your phone is insured you might be covered for the cost of unauthorised calls made between you losing your phone and reporting it missing. Check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered.
Getting a replacement SIM card and phone
Your network will usually send you a replacement SIM card, but they may charge an administration fee.
Your network won’t normally replace your phone free of charge and you’ll have to carry on paying your monthly line rental until the end of your contract.
If you don’t get a free replacement phone, you’ll have to decide whether to:
buy a new phone and continue with your current contract
wait until your current contract ends and get a new contract that includes a free phone
If you’re insured
If your phone is insured or covered by your home insurance policy you’ll usually be able to claim for a new one.
Contact your insurance provider to find out what cover you have and how they can get you a replacement. If your phone was stolen you’ll need to give them the crime reference number.
Registering your phone
You can register your mobile phone on Immobilise. If your phone is lost or stolen but then gets found, police can use Immobilise to return it to you.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also use an online form.
If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact Consumerline.
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