As of 2010, over 3 million people in the United Kingdom (UK) owned an Apple iPhone. Many can attest to the fact that a stolen handset creates multiple problems. The devices hold personal data that could wreak havoc in the wrong hands. Once you realise the phone is missing, do the following:

What to Do When Your iPhone is Stolen?

1. Contact Your Service Provider

There are four major iPhone merchants in the UK: O2, Orange, Tesco Mobile and Vodafone. Customer service representatives place a block on incoming and outgoing calls so you do not rack up additional fees. They also block the international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) number so a warning appears if someone attempts to re-activate the handset.

2. Report the Incident to Local Law Enforcement

Theft is a crime, and the perpetrator should be held accountable for their actions. The Metropolitan Police indicate that approximately 10,000 phones are stolen each month in the UK.

What To Do When Your iPhone is Stolen?

3. Change Your Passwords

iTunes, Twitter, email addresses and other applications on a stolen handset are left vulnerable to hijacking. Immediately change all passwords to safeguard personal information.

4. Use MobileMe Service for Remote Control of Missing Handsets

The Find My iPhone programme offers a variety of options for stolen devices.

- Activate a loud two minute noise to bring attention to the device or display return instructions on the mobile screen.

- Track the device using built-in global positioning system (GPS) features. The physical location is displayed on Google Maps.

- Lock the keypad so the thief cannot make any calls.

- Erase all information from the handset by activating the wipe feature. Replace the information using iTunes backup if the handset is recovered at a later time.

Note that MobileMe only works if you have signed up before the handset was stolen.

5. Contact Your Contacts

When an iPhone is stolen, contact information is left open and vulnerable. Call friends and business associates to inform them the handset was stolen. This help to safeguard against fraudulent activity.

6. Inform your employer

A key piece of advice for people using company-issued iPhones.

Actions should be completed immediately to avoid security breeches or identity theft. Providers are not required to replace uninsured phones, so purchase a pay-as-you-go device if you wish to continue using an iPhone. If you opted for a contract plan but did not insure the handset, your provider can continue billing for the duration of the contract. This occurs even if you decide not to replace the phone. With any luck, your headset will be discovered quickly and everything can return back to normal.

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