Lost or stolen phone

 Mobile phones now do so much more than simply make calls that many of us would be completely lost without them. Unfortunately thousands of phones do go missing each year and many of these will have been stolen.
 
Mobile phones now do so much more than simply make calls that many of us would be completely lost without them. Unfortunately thousands of phones do go missing each year and many of these will have been stolen.
 
But if your phone does go missing you could be left with a much bigger headache than simply having to replace your handset. Not only are many smartphones worth hundreds of pounds, but thieves can quickly rack up huge bills on stolen phones.
  
You may be liable for all charges run up on your phone before you have reported it lost or stolen to your provider. This is usually set out in the terms and conditions of your contract. Therefore, it’s important you contact your provider as soon as possible to avoid facing high charges as a result of unauthorised use.
 
 Protecting your phone:
 
You should always treat your phone as carefully as you would your bank or credit cards. Make sure that you always take care when using your phone in public, and don’t let it out of your possession.
 
Make sure you put a passcode on both your handset and SIM to make it more difficult for thieves to use.
 
There are a number of other steps you can take to keep your mobile safe and prevent against unintentional use
 
Make a record of your phone’s IMEI number, as well as the make and model number. The IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number which you will need to get the phone blocked. You can get your IMEI number by keying *#06# into your handset or by looking behind your phone battery.
 
Consider barring calls to international and premium rate numbers (numbers which offer services you are charged for through your monthly phone bill or through credit on your mobile phone) to limit the usefulness of your phone to thieves.
 
Some mobile insurance policies may provide some cover for unauthorised use so it is worth checking the terms and conditions of your existing policy, or when considering a new policy.
 
There are apps which can trace your phone if it is lost/stolen and can wipe details from it remotely – such as findmyiphone and findmyphone for Android.
 
Register your phone with Immobilise, which is a database containing the details of millions of mobile phones and other property.
 
The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit is a useful source of advice on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of phone crime.
 
Further advice -which was put together with the support of major phone manufacturers is also available on on the Police.uk website.
  
What if your phone is stolen?
 
Contact your provider as soon as possible. It can then bar your SIM to stop calls being made on your account. Your provider can also stop anyone else from using your phone by blocking its IMEI.
 
Remember, if you have mobile phone insurance, you may be obliged to let them know within a certain time frame too.
 

 To report your phone lost/stolen:

 3
 Dialing from UK: 0843 373 3333  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7782 333 333
 

EE
Dialing from UK: 07953 966 250  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7953 966 250

Orange
Dialing from UK: 07973 100 150 (pay-monthly)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7973 100 150 (pay-monthly)
Dialing from UK: 07973 100 450 (PAYG)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7973 100 450 (PAYG)
 

 O2
 Dialing fom UK: 0844 8090 2020 (pay-monthly)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 844 809 0200 (pay-monthly)
Dialing from UK: 0844 809 0222 (PAYG)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 844 809 0222 (PAYG)
 

T-Mobile

Dialing from UK: 0845 412 5000  Dialing from Abroad: +44 79539 66150

Vodafone
Dialing from UK: 08700 700191 (pay-monthly)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7836 191 191 (pay-monthly)
Dialing from UK: 08700 776655 (PAYG)  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7836 191 919 (PAYG)

 Tesco Mobile
 Dialing from UK: 0845 301 4455  Dialing from Abroad: +44 845 3014455
 

 Virgin Mobile

 Dialing from UK: 0845 6000 789  Dialing from Abroad: +44 7953 967 967
 

 

 

Social media and premium rate services

 
 
Simple steps to avoid hidden charges on social media
  
Check the web address you are looking for – Take a moment to double-check you have typed the address correctly before clicking on search. When you arrive at the page, check the address at the top of the screen.
  
Protect your phone number – Remember your phone is like a bank card – payments can be charged to your phone bill so treat your phone number like a pin. Only enter your mobile number online if you wish to subscribe to a service or wish to be contacted.
 
Read the small print – Always check the small print for terms and conditions before entering your mobile number online, making sure to scroll to all the way down to the bottom of the page.
  
Trust your instincts – Be wary of ‘free’ offers or seemingly fabulous prizes. If something looks too good to be true, it probably will be!
 
Report a problem on Facebook
 
Anyone can report misleading promotion they see on Facebook by clicking on the ‘x’ in the top right hand corner of any ad. Click ‘hide’ and select the reason why you have reported the ad. Facebook will remove ads that users bring to their attention if they violate their guidelines. To report a problem on Twitter, visit the spam account’s profile, click the person icon. This brings up a drop-down actions menu. Click on Report @username to log complaint. If you have any other concerns or are worried about unwanted messages or hidden charges get in touch with PhonepayPlus for further advice.
 
 

Safer Smartphones – a guide to keeping your device secure

More than half of UK adults now own a smartphone. If you’re one of them, here are some tips to help keep you and your device safe and secure.
 
More than half of UK adults now own a smartphone. If you’re one of them, here are some tips to help keep you and your device safe and secure.
 
This guide has been produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office, Ofcom, the Office of Fair Trading and PhonepayPlus working together. We are reproducing it here as a one-stop reference point for you.
  
1. Guard your phone, and set PINs and passwords
 
Treat your phone as carefully as you would your bank cards. Take care when using your phone in public, and don’t let it out of your possession. Thieves can quickly rack up huge bills on stolen phones, and you may be liable for all charges run up on your phone before you have reported it lost or stolen to your provider.
 
To help prevent this happening, protect your phone against unauthorised use by setting up a PIN, swipe pattern or password for your home screen. You can usually do this through the Settings feature on your phone.
  
2. Take precautions in case your phone is lost or stolen
 
Make a record of your phone’s IMEI number, as well as the make and model number. The IMEI is a unique 15-digit serial number which you will need to give to your mobile operator to have your phone blocked . You can check your IMEI number by keying *#06# into your handset or by looking behind your phone battery.
 
Consider making your phone less useful to potential thieves by barring calls to international numbers and premium rate lines, if you never use them.
 
Some mobile insurance policies, or any other policies that may cover the mobile phone, could provide limited cover for unauthorised use. So it is worth checking the terms and conditions of your existing policy, and when considering a new policy.
 
The national Mobile Phone Crime Unit’s “Immobilise” database is a free registration service that assists the police in reuniting owners with their stolen smartphones.
  
3. Don’t override your smartphone’s security settings
 
It is not advisable to attempt to ‘crack’, ‘jailbreak’ or ‘root’ your smartphone or tablet. This is a process people use to remove restrictions placed on their device’s operating system by the phone manufacturer. Doing so carries considerable risks: it compromises the security of your device, and may leave you more vulnerable to malicious software.
 
It is also likely to invalidate your manufacturer’s warranty.
 
4. Back up and secure your data
 
Many smartphones come with a software package to back up your data to a personal computer, so that you don’t lose it if your phone goes astray. Check for information on how to do this in the phone’s manual. There are also some third-party applications (‘apps’) that can do this for you, creating a copy of information such as contacts, photographs and other data.
  
5. Install apps from trusted sources
 
Apps are the easiest way for someone to hack into your phone. Sometimes hackers will take a popular paid-for app, add their own illegitimate elements and then offer it for free on ‘bulletin boards’, ‘peer-to-peer’ networks or through fake online stores. Once the rogue app has been downloaded to your phone, the hacker can potentially take control of the handset, incur charges via premium SMS without your permission, make calls, send and intercept SMS and voicemail messages, browse and download online content.
 
You may not be aware anything is wrong until it’s too late.
 
So avoid apps from unauthorised sources, such as ‘bulletin boards’ or ‘peer-to-peer’ networks. Instead, download your apps from official stores, such as the Apple App Store, BlackBerry World or Google Play – and exercise care: for example, research the app and check reviews.
 
6. Use antivirus software
 
It’s not just rogue apps which pose a threat to your smartphone. Viruses and spyware can also be downloaded from websites, or by connecting your device to an infected computer. Some phones may be more vulnerable than others, but you can check for antivirus software in a reputable app store such as Google Play.
 
Also, before connecting your device to a computer, ensure it has the latest antivirus/antispyware and firewall installed and running. To find out more, visit Get Safe Online, the UK’s national internet security initiative.
 
7. Use software to find or erase your phone if it goes missing
 
Consider installing a reputable security app that enables you to track your phone’s location if it goes missing, or to wipe data from the phone remotely if you’re not able to recover the handset. Some manufacturers provide such an app themselves: for example, Apple’s Find My iPhone, BlackBerry Protect, the Android Device Manager or Windows Find My Phone. Third-party apps are also available to perform a similar function.
 
8. Clear your phone before you dispense with it
 
If you decide to donate, resell or recycle your smartphone, remember to erase any data on it first. Remove and erase any media cards and perform a full or ‘factory’ reset by going into the Settings menu.
 
9. Accept updates and patches
 
Occasionally, your smartphone manufacturer may send you a message proposing an update to your operating system – the software that runs your device. App developers may also propose updates to their app. It is advisable to accept these updates as they become available. As well as typically offering new features and improving your phone’s performance, they can also fix security vulnerabilities.
 
 

Information on inadvertent roaming in Northern Ireland

Mobile phone users in Northern Ireland, particularly in border regions, may incur international roaming charges without ever leaving the country.
 
Mobile phone users in Northern Ireland, particularly in border regions, may incur international roaming charges without ever leaving the country.
 
This is called inadvertent roaming. It occurs when the signal from your domestic UK network is weak or unavailable and your phone picks up a stronger signal from a mast in the Republic of Ireland. In these cases, rather than paying domestic rates, mobile phone users are charged more expensive international roaming rates that can lead to unexpectedly high bills.
  
Tackling inadvertent roaming
 
EU legislation requires that mobile operators take reasonable steps to protect their customers from paying roaming charges for inadvertently accessed roaming services while situated in their home Member State, and make information available to their customers on how to avoid inadvertent roaming in border regions.
 
Operators have taken different kinds of action to tackle the problem for customers living and working in affected areas of Northern Ireland.
  
Reducing the cost of inadvertent roaming
 
Depending on how much your phone roams, there are a range of measures available from operators that may help you reduce the cost of inadvertent roaming to varying degrees.
 
Consider special discounted roaming tariffs
 
Some mobile operators offer tariffs, which, for some users, may provide a saving over their current monthly roaming costs.
  
Consider using smartphone apps
 
If you have access to a Wi-Fi network, there are some smartphone apps available which could help save you money. For example, O2’s TuGo app allows users to make calls over Wi-Fi networks using their standard minutes / text allowance. Apps such as these may also be useful if you live in an area where there is limited mobile coverage.
  
Adjust your handset settings
 
You can also change the settings on your phone to prevent your phone from roaming onto another network. This is important for smartphone owners especially, where apps can be downloading data even though the user isn’t actively using them. You can avoid these charges by turning off data roaming in your phone’s settings. 
 
Finally, users can avoid incurring voice roaming costs by switching their phone to manual rather than automatic network selection, which is the default setting on most phones. However, while stopping inadvertent roaming, this does restrict your use of the phone when you cannot pick up your own network.
  
Check your coverage
 
Mobile phone operators are investing in improving their networks to improve their coverage. You can find out more about reception in your area via coverage checkers on operators’ websites.
 
Ask your operator
 
Operators are also required to give their customers information on avoiding these charges. They often publish it on their websites. We encourage consumers to check, and to contact their operator if they are not sure.
 
 

Information correct as at 15 January 2014

 
 

My phone is locked (it’s asking for a PIN or PUK code)

 
What to do if your phone asks for a PIN or PUK:
 
A PIN protects your SIM card. If you forget your PIN or enter it incorrectly too many times you may be blocked from using it. To get it back up and running, you need to get a Personal Unblocking Key (PUK)
 
Don’t try to guess the PUK – if you enter the wrong PUK too many times, you may have to get a new SIM card.
  
To set up or deactivate a PIN, look in your phone’s user manual.
 
To obtain your PIN or PUK contact your Network’s Customer Services.
 
 

Change data roaming settings

 With modern phones, especially smart phones, they will have a frequent connection to the Internet running almost the entire time due to the applications that run on your phone. This is great when you are out and about in the UK. If you are going abroad however, your phone still thinks it should go online for it’s information.
 
With modern phones, especially smart phones, they will have a frequent connection to the Internet running almost the entire time due to the applications that run on your phone. This is great when you are out and about in the UK. If you are going abroad however, your phone still thinks it should go online for it’s information.
 
Unless you change the settings on your phone, you could end up paying for roaming data charges, which can build up to quite a high bill. The following is a set of useful guidelines to make sure you make the most economical use of your smart phone abroad, without running up a high bill!
 
Wi Fi:
 
WiFi hotspots can be found all around the globe, and as long as your phone can connect to WiFi, you can connect to these zones. Most of which are free, but please check with the individual supplier if you are unsure.
 
WiFi hotspots are a great way to keep connected whilst abroad, and using your WiFi does not incur roaming charges, and often provide a very fast and reliable connection. Make sure your phone knows to use WiFi instead of the network otherwise you’re still charged.
 
If you are connecting to the Internet via your phone’s 3G signal abroad, this will be using your network providers roaming partners network, and as such this will incur roaming charges. If you do not wish to connect to the Internet, you will need to disable your phone’s Internet connectivity whilst abroad, and this should stop you incurring any roaming charges for data.
 
There are several ways to do this, and depending on your operating system and handset, the method will vary. Here is a step-by-step guide to disable Internet access on the most popular operating systems:
  
Android:
 
Go onto the main setting menu
Select Wireless and Networks tab
From here you can either select ‘Airplane Mode’ which disables all wireless connections, or select Mobile Network Settings
Select Data Roaming to off
 
Symbian:
 
There is no current method of disabling roaming data usage on Symbian (note, this does not include Symbian 3)
 
iPhone:
 
Select the Settings icon
Select the General tab
Select Networks
Select Data Roaming off
  
Blackberry:
 
Press the Blackberry button to go to the main menu
Go down to Manage Connections
Select Mobile Network Options
Select Data Services to Off
 
Palm:
 
Select the Call icon
Select the Network tab in the top left hand corner
Select Preferences
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and select disable Data Roaming
 
Bada:
 
Go onto the main menu
Select Settings
Select Connectivity
Select Data Roaming, and switch to off
 
Windows Mobile:
 
Press Windows button to go to main menu
Select Wireless Controls
Select Data Connection to off
 
*Please note, if you use an App that connects to the Internet, this will turn your connection back on. You can also download a free app that will keep these switched off from http://www.pocketpc-live.com/pocket-pc/turn-off-data-connections-while-roaming.html
  
Brew:
 
Unlock the handset
Go to Settings
Select Network Settings
Select Data Roaming to off
 
Please note, your handset will have to be set up to be used abroad. The alternative to putting your phone onto Airplane mode is to contact your network provider, and they can disable connections on your phone whilst abroad. This is a great solution for Symbian users who are worried about incurring charges.
 
If you are unsure which operating system your phone operates on, please visit your manufacturers website, where it will list all of the details of your chosen handset.
 
 

Make your phone’s battery last longer

 
Make your phone’s battery last longer between charges
 
1) If you don’t plan on using them turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G.
 
2) Decrease your brightness settings.
 
3) Don’t use the vibrate function, use a ringtone.
 
4) Switch off your phone whenever you don’t plan to answer calls, for example, while you’re sleeping or in a location that doesn’t get reception.
 
5) Disable key tones.
 
6) Set your phone to enter power saver mode – this means when it’s inactive, the screen will automatically turn off.
 
7) Whilst charging, try not to use your phone as it will take longer to complete.
 
To find out where these features are in your phone, check its user manual.
 
The following battery-saving features are also included in many smartphones: Flight mode – this means you can’t make calls, connect to the internet or send messages. You should only use flight mode, if you’re certain you won’t need these features. Battery saver mode – this means your phone will turn off some services, including automatic emails, to preserve its battery. You’ll need to get your emails manually.
 
Tip – Once your phone’s charged, unplug it from the wall to save you energy.
 
 

Transferring your contacts

 Once you’ve got your new phone and are desperate to get started with it, there’s usually one stumbling block that prevents you from enjoying it to its fullest straight away – the transferring of contacts. If you fancy having a go yourself, there are a few ways to go about this.
 
Once you’ve got your new phone and are desperate to get started with it, there’s usually one stumbling block that prevents you from enjoying it to its fullest straight away – the transferring of contacts. If you fancy having a go yourself, there are a few ways to go about this.
 
If the SIMs are the same size, it’s easy to move contacts from one phone to another
 
You just have to ensure all your contacts are saved to your SIM on your old phone, and not to the phone memory. Once this is done, remove your SIM and copy all your contacts to your new phone. However, bear in mind, modern SIMs can only hold 250 contacts and older SIMs sometimes only hold 100, so it might be necessary to make the changes in two stages.
 
You can also do this with micro SD cards: Ensure your contacts are saved to it, then simply transfer it from one phone to another.
  
Transfer your contacts via Bluetooth:
 
1) On your old phone navigate to Bluetooth and turn it on by selecting discoverable or make my phone searchable.
2) Do the same on your new phone
3) On your old phone, select your new phone from the list of available devices
4) Create a four-digit code and enter it into both phones, this gives permission for them to be synchronised
5) Navigate to your contacts, then select all and send via Bluetooth
6) Accept this transfer on your new phone
7) Ensure you turn off Bluetooth on both phones
 
NOTE: On certain devices you can use their software to transfer your contacts, just ensure you’ve already set up an email account on the previous phone
  
To an iPhone from a BlackBerry
 
1) Ensure you’ve installed the BlackBerry Desktop Software – this will mean your contacts are synced with your PC
2) Connect your iPhone to the USB port on your computer using the cable included in your iPhone box and wait for iTunes to open
3) Click on the Info tab at the top of the screen and tick the option Sync contacts
4) Locate your contacts in the drop down menu
5) Select Apply
6) Select Sync
7) Your contacts will then transfer to the your iPhone
8) Repeat the process for your calendars and data
  
To an iPhone from an Android:
 
1) On your Android device: Select Contacts
2) On your Android device: Select the Menu button
3) On your Android Device: Then select Merge with Google
4) On your iPhone: Select Settings on the homescreen Select Mail, contacts and calendars Select Add an account
5) On your iPhone: Select your Gmail account and your contacts will automatically import
  
To an iPhone from another iPhone:
 
1) Ensure you have iCloud set up on your old phone.
2) During the activation of your iPhone using the Setup Assistant, when prompted, select Use iCloud
3) Your contacts will then automatically appear on your new iPhone.
 
From iPhone to a phone that uses Windows 8 software:
 
Nokia Lumia: select the Contacts Transfer app and follow the onscreen commands – this moves your contacts via Bluetooth without you needing to activate anything on your phone .
 
HTC or Samsung:
 
1) The easiest way is to transfer the contacts from iCloud to your Microsoft account, first you’ll need to have a copy of your contacts saved to your computer
2) Visit iCloud’s website
3) Select Contacts
4) Select which contacts you would like to transfer
5) Select Settings
6) Select Export vCard
7) Next you need to duplicate them in your Microsoft account
8) Visit Outlook.com
9) Select People
10) Then select Import from file
11) Select your iCloud file
12) Your contacts are now on your Microsoft Account and will be visible on your Windows Phone.
 

Transferring data

Like transferring contacts, there are a few ways to get your pictures, videos and music transferred from your old phone to your new one.
 
Like transferring contacts, there are a few ways to get your pictures, videos and music transferred from your old phone to your new one. 
  
Using a micro SD card:
 
Ensure your data’s saved to the card when it’s in your old phone, them simply move it from one phone to another.
 
Saving your data to your PC, then transferring it: 
 
This is a good idea because it means you have an additional copy of data
 
1) Insert your USB cable into your old phone, then connect it to your PC
2) On your PC, navigate to Computer and double click your phone to open its contents
3) Or on some devices you can right click on your device to import all its contents
4) Once you’ve located the items you want to save – videos, pictures, music, you can copy them into a folder you’ll easily be able to find on your PC
5) Then remove the cable from your PC (do this on your PC rather than just pulling it out, this can cause items to be lost)
6) Then insert the USB cable into your new phone, locate the saved items then right click to send them to your new phone
 
Apps: 
 
There are loads of apps available for taking the trouble out of data transfers by doing it via a Wi-Fi connection. Visit your app store to find one for your phone. 

How long will a phone’s battery last?

 
About batteries:
 
It’s difficult to give an exact estimate of how long a phone’s battery will last – battery life depends on the phone itself, how often you use it and what you use it for. Checking the following specifications on a phone gives you a guide on how long the battery will last:
 
Talk time – the maximum amount of time you’ll be able to make a call on your phone before the battery runs out.
 
Standby time – the maximum amount of time you’ll be able to have your phone turned on before the battery runs out.
 
Having facilities like Bluetooth or the internet turned on means your phone will drain your battery more quickly. Top of the range smartphones often do as much work as a laptop, so it’s no wonder that they need charging more often.
 
If a long battery life is very important to you, you might be better off opting for a more basic phone.