Phone lost or stolen? You don't need to cancel your SIM - just yet. Here's what you can do to save your pics and messages... and how Three Rescue can help in your time of need.

Stolen phone? Sure, your handset is everything to you. But what about that tiny little card that turns your phone from a glorified web browser to the incredible piece of tech that it really is?

Believe it or not, your SIM a precious piece of kit. But occasionally you might need to get a new one, whether you’re new to Three on a lovely Pay Monthly deal, you’ve decided to upgrade to the new Samsung S9, or your phone’s been stolen.

These are things you’ll need to know to do if your phone’s disappeared, you’re upgrading, or simply before you swap your SIM.


Stolen phone? What to do next

Firstly, you need to look after yourself. Get somewhere safe and report the incident to your local police station.

Make sure you get a crime or loss reference number, because you’ll need this to make an insurance claim. Even on Three Rescue.


Cancelling your SIM

Whether you’re a three customer or not, cancelling your SIM will prevent anyone using your account.  If you have insurance your phone should get replaced, and obtaining a new SIM from Three over the phone or in store is a doddle, even if you’re on one of our SIM only deals.

To retrieve all your details, make sure you’re backing everything up somewhere, as phones don’t typically save everything to your SIM anymore. It’s a good plan to check that all your crucial pics and contacts are being synced to the Cloud, and not just internal storage. If your phone does get lost or stolen, use the Wipe Phone function on both iPhone and Android, so that no one can get access to your passwords, photos or accounts.

When you boot up your new SIM on your phone, you can re-sync your favourite apps, contacts, bookmarks and messages by logging back into your Google account and re-downloading WhatsApp. If that fails, you should always have a hard back-up on your computer. You could also take this as an opportunity to refresh and get rid of those photos you don’t care for and clear that inbox!


What if I’m a Three customer?

Contact us as soon as possible. We’ll stop someone messing with your account, help sort a replacement for you and get you in working order ASAP. Our lost and stolen line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your benefit. Once that’s done we’ll stop anyone accessing billing information, buying anything using your phone and ordering anything on your account. We can also blacklist the handset so they can’t benefit from it anymore.

For lost or stolen phones call 333 from a Three phone, or 03333 381 001 from any other phone.*

For Mobile Broadband call 500 from a Three phone, or 03333 381 003 from any phone.*

If your device is lost or stolen while travelling abroad, call +44 7782 333 333.

We’ll freeze your account and block your SIM instantly, so nobody will be able to use or sell your device. We don’t just block your Three SIM, we also block your phone from use on the Three network within 24 hours, and on all other networks within 48 hours.

It’s important to remember that even with all that phone security, you should change your passwords on apps and accounts you had on your phone to be extra careful.



Prevention is the best cure they say, especially when it comes to your beloved phone. Whether someone’s nabbed your device while you weren’t looking, or you’re just incredibly forgetful, you should still take advantage of apps like Find My iPhone, obviously only for iPhone.

Not to worry diehard Android fans – Android Device Manager does the same thing. From finding your phone using GPS, to remotely ringing, to locking and erasing your phone in case it falls into less caring hands than your own. You can do all of this from the desktop, as long as these settings are enabled on your phone and you use the same Google account.

What did we do before the invention of the Cloud? Make sure your precious messages and pictures are synced up to iCloud, your Google account and WhatsApp, to ensure you never lose a single memory.

Also turning on that two-step verification process (where you sign in with something you know like a password and a second layer, like a code sent to your phone) as well will help with that extra security protection. It’s also worth checking whether your mobile phone is covered by your home insurance.

You should also go a bit low tech and write down (with a pen and paper, cave drawing, whatever) all those important numbers of family, friends and insurance for immediate use.


Three Rescue

Making sure you have all the bases covered is paramount. Even after doing all that you’ll need something if it does go belly-up. Three Rescue is your failsafe in case of theft, loss or damage.

That way you know we’ve got your damaged, lost or stolen phone, tablet/dongle covered in a tight spot.


Main image: Getty via Antonio Guillem