'Millions' of people are risking fraud and ID theft

04/03/13

There's a new warning for people who don't protect their phones with a pin code password.

The UK's most senior police officer in charge of tackling mobile theft says millions of people don't use them.

DCI Bob Mahoney, head of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, says phones not protected with a pin code are worth more money to criminals.

He said: "If criminals have stolen your phone and they've got access to your personal data that is highly valuable."

DCI Mahoney added that losing personal data put victims at risk of things like fraud, ID theft and burglary.

'Gold mine'

"That phone will attract a premium price, worth hundreds of pounds, when it's been bought from the robber because people want your personal data," he continued.

"On your phone there's going to be all your personal details on Facebook, it's going to have all your Twitter account details.

"They can identify where you live, access your diary and find out when you're not about. Access your telephone numbers [and] put all that together - it's a gold mine for any thief."

According to police figures gathered by LV Insurance, mobile phone theft has gone up 25% in the last three years with hundreds stolen every day.

Laura Gipp
Image caption Laura Gipp says someone accessed the personal details on her phone

Laura Gipp, 21, had her phone stolen from a take away shop in Worcester after finishing her shift at a nightclub in the town.

She says it's only down to luck that she wasn't a victim of fraud.

She said: "I discovered that he'd been on my Facebook account, through my emails [and] my bank account details were on there.

"I live my life on my phone so it was shocking. It was stressful and there was nothing I could do about it."

PC Andy Mawbey from Greater Manchester Police says there are three main types of mobile phone theft.

"Robbery is where someone uses violence to get the phone," he said.

"Second one is when somebody will come up from behind, grab the phone and run off with it.

"Third type is distraction, maybe someone approaches you with a clipboard while you're having a coffee, places the clipboard over your mobile on the table and then when you're distracted takes the clipboard and your mobile."

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