What should I do if my phone or dongle is lost or stolen abroad?

Mobile in handIf your phone or dongle is lost or stolen when you are abroad you may be liable for all charges run up 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, if your phone goes missing when you’re abroad, it’s important you contact your provider as soon as possible to avoid facing high charges as a result of unauthorised use. Even if there’s a slim chance you may find your phone, it’s worth talking to your provider about whether a temporary bar can be placed on your account.

Once you have reported your phone as lost or stolen, your provider can 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, a unique 15-digit serial number. You can get your IMEI number by keying *#06# into your handset or by looking behind your phone battery. Make a record of this number, as well as the make and model of your handset and keep it somewhere safe.

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.

Remember, if you do decide to take out mobile phone insurance, you may be obliged to let your insurer know if your phone is lost or stolen within a certain time frame too.

You should still also let your mobile phone provider know.

Make sure you put a passcode on both your handset and SIM to make it more difficult for thieves to use. These video guides shows you how to do this on some popular handsets.


Android (ICS, Samsung Galaxy)

Android (4.2, Jelly Bean)

Windows Phone 8


The National Mobile Phone Crime Unit is also a useful source of advice on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of phone crime.

To report your phone lost/stolen

Provider Dialling from the UK Dialling from Abroad
3 0843 373 3333 +44 7782 333 333
EE 07953 966 250 +44 7953 966 250
Orange 07973 100 150 (pay-monthly)
07973 100 450 (PAYG)
+44 7973 100 150 (pay-monthly)
+44 7973 100 450 (PAYG)

0844 8090 2020 (pay-monthly)
0844 8090 222 (PAYG)
+44 844 809 0200
T-Mobile 0845 412 5000 +44 79539 66150
Vodafone 08700 700191 (pay-monthly)
08700 776655 (PAYG)
+44 7836 191 191 (pay-monthly)
+44 7836 191 919 (PAYG)
Tesco Mobile 0845 301 4455 +44 845 3014455
Virgin Mobile 0845 6000 789 +44 7953 967 967