Lost or stolen mobile devices
If your mobile device is lost or stolen it can be blocked from use across all mobile networks in Australia. A blocking request must be made directly with your mobile service provider. When blocked, a mobile device cannot be used on any mobile network in Australia.
Each mobile device has a unique 15 digit International Mobile Equipment Identity number, commonly called an IMEI. Your mobile service provider will blacklist this IMEI and share details across all Australian networks which results in the mobile device being unable to send or receive calls, texts or data.
This service is free to all consumers with a current mobile service. 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.
What is required to block a lost or stolen mobile device?
- A customer must have a current and active mobile service with an Australian mobile service provider?
- The lost/stolen mobile device must have a usage associated with that customer’s mobile service number. Only the mobile service provider of the customer can block the IMEI.
- It is not a requirement for the customer to have purchased the mobile device from their mobile service provider.
A customer is eligible for IMEI blocking providing they meet the above criteria.
If you have insurance, most insurance providers will require that the mobile device is IMEI blocked and that the theft/loss has been reported to the police before they will process a claim.
Numbers for mobile customer service:
Telstra 125 111
Optus 13 39 37
Vodafone 1300 650 410 (or 1555 from a Vodafone mobile)
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 mobile device cannot be used on any network in Australia then ask for an IMEI block. You could just block your SIM card to prevent any unauthorised persons using your service to run up bills on your account. However, this does not prevent a person from replacing your SIM with another one and using the mobile device as normal.
- Travelling overseas – If your mobile device is lost or stolen while travelling overseas it can still be blocked, provided you meet the blocking criteria outlined above. 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 mobile devices 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 mobile device 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 device before buying. And note that this check can only provide details of mobile devices that have been reported lost/stolen at the time of the inquiry. There can be a lag between when a mobile device is reported lost or stolen to the carrier and showing “blocked” on the website.