Leeds is rated `second worst for phone theft’

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RESEARCH has shown that 16 per cent of insurance claims made in Leeds are related to stolen mobile phones - the second worst figure in the UK.

Only London with 18 per cent scored higher according to Protect Your Bubble which specialises in offering insurance for mobile technology, while Dudley in the Midlands was the safest location, recording just five per cent.

Director Stephen Ebbett said: “Gadget owners can never be too cautious. Every day we cart around hundreds, or even thousands of pounds’ worth of high-tech gear such as smartphones, tablets, cameras and e-readers and this makes many of us prime targets for thieves.

“However, the good news is that we’re seeing mobile thefts drop. So far, nine per cent of mobile claims we’ve received in 2014 have been for theft, compared to 11 per cent for the same period last year.

“But that doesn’t mean smartphone users should be any less vigilant. People can reduce their risk of being targeted by keeping their mobiles out of sight in public. Carry them in a pocket or bag with a zip, rather than your trouser pocket or in your hand.”

According to the survey - which placed Northampton as the third most risky location for phone theft - users in their early 20s are the most likely to be victims of theft.

“Mobile users can safeguard both their data and finances by blocking their phones with their airtime provider as quickly as possible after a theft so they don’t end up paying through the nose for unauthorised calls,” said Mr Ebbett.

According to the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit, there are more than 250,000 reported cases of stolen mobile phones each year, with the unit encouraging users to install tracking apps to help trace a device after it has been stolen.

Technology is also available which tracks stolen phones, while devices exist which instruct a phone to take a discreet image of anyone who tries unsuccessfully to key in the owner’s pin number. It then sends the picture to their email address.

The unit also advises the public not to use mobile phones to store personal details such as bank account numbers or passwords or to use another person’s computer as a charger as doing so also allows them access to personal data.

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