Lost and Stolen Mobiles
If you report your mobile lost or stolen to your mobile service provider it can be blocked across all mobile networks in Australia. This means that your phone cannot be used on any network in Australia.
This is done by blocking the handset’s unique 15-digit serial number, the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).
This service is free to consumers but not businesses. It protects consumers from facing big bills run-up by thieves and sends a strong signal to thieves that stolen handsets will be blocked across all networks, making them inoperable in Australia.
IMEI blocking is reversible – you can have your mobile unblocked if you find it or it is returned to you.
How to block your phone if it is lost or stolen:
- First – do you have a current and active mobile service with an Australian mobile service provider? Your mobile can only be blocked if it is linked to a current and active mobile service.
- Contact your mobile service provider to report your phone as lost or stolen and request that they put an IMEI block on your phone. Only your mobile service provider can block/unblock your phone. Your mobile service provider is the company you have your contract with or who bills you or if you are prepaid, the one who sells you recharges. Your service provider will also cancel your SIM so that it cannot be used in another phone as that could result in charges to your account.
- If you have insurance, most insurance providers will require that the phone’s IMEI is blocked and that the theft/loss has been reported to the police before they will process a claim.
Numbers for mobile customer service:
Telstra 13 22 00 (or 125 111 from a Telstra mobile)
Optus 13 39 37
Vodafone 1300 650 410 (or 1555 from a Vodafone mobile)
Virgin Mobile 1300 555 100
Lycamobile 122 on your mobile or 1300 854 607
Boost Mobile 1800 100 933 (or 125 8881 from a Boost mobile)
Amaysim – contact them via Live Chat or email if after hours
If you still need help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Some more helpful tips:
- Two types of blocking – When contacting your service provider make it clear what type of block you want. If you want to ensure that your lost/stolen handset cannot be used on any network in Australia ask for an IMEI block. You could just block your SIM card, which would mean that anyone with your lost/stolen handset could take out your SIM and put another one in and use the handset as normal. This prevents thieves running up bills on your account, however, it allows them to continue to use the handset.
- Travelling overseas – If your handset is lost or stolen while travelling overseas it can still be blocked, provided you have an active mobile service with an Australian carrier or mobile service provider and the specific handset must have been used on your Australian network.IMEI blocking will only prevent a handset being used on Australian networks and not overseas networks.
- No tracking of lost or stolen: Your mobile network operator cannot track the location of a lost/stolen handset using the IMEI blocking program. There are mobile applications available that may remotely track, lock and erase data on your handset and these can be helpful. However, if you do track your lost/stolen mobile, always involve the police when you locate it and avoid any confrontation with a potential thief – remember your personal safety is more important than a phone!
- Buying second-hand mobiles online or at auctions is risky because they may have been reported lost or stolen and IMEI blocked. You risk losing your money because carriers will only unblock a handset for the original lawful owner who reported it lost and stolen and not a second-hand buyer. So always check the IMEI status of the second-hand mobile at to see if it’s blocked before buying. And note that this check can only provide details of phones that have been reported lost/stolen at the time of the inquiry. There can be a 36-hour lag between when a mobile is reported lost or stolen to the carrier and showing “blocked” on the website.