Losing your mobile phone or having it stolen can make life very difficult. If you want to make things a little easier for yourself, then you must make sure that you follow this advice, or else you may end up being held liable for any usage.
Tell your provider
Once you have realised that your phone is missing, you should get in contact with your mobile phone network provider as soon as possible. They will be able to take steps to block your number to prevent anyone else from using it. A mobile phone network provider can hold you liable for the cost of any phone calls, text messages or data which is used before you notify them that you have lost the phone. You can also ask your provider to give you the IMEI number of the phone, so that the police will be able to identify the phone if they find it. If you do find your phone later on, your phone provider should be able to reactive it for you.
Reporting a Theft
Report the phone theft to the local police station or by calling the non-emergency 101 number. Give the police the IMEI number so that they will be able to identify your phone. The police should give you a crime reference number, which you will need if you want to make an insurance claim for the device.
Paying for unauthorised usage
As mentioned before, you may be held liable for the usage if you do not notify your phone provider straight away. If you are signed up to a contract, the person who has your phone may be able to continue making calls indefinitely, unless the phone is disabled by the provider. Some phone providers will cap charges if a phone is reported as missing, although they do this as a goodwill gesture rather than a legal responsibility.
If you are on a pay-as-you-go contract, they will only be able to make calls up to the value of phone credit that you had on your phone. After this, they will have to top the phone number up again for themselves, which is not always possible. If you had a large amount of phone credit on your account, you provider may refund this to you, but they do not have to. If you have phone insurance on your device, your insurance provider may also cover the cost of calls.
Replacing your SIM and Phone
If you are in a contract, your provider should send you a replacement SIM with the same number, although they are allowed to charge an administration fee to do this. They do not have to replace your phone, although you may have to continue to pay for the phone which was lost or stolen. You may have to buy a new phone independently or take out a new contract with a phone included. If your phone was insured, your insurance provider may provide you with a replacement or money to the value of the missing item.