Trace your stolen mobile phone

Millions of dollars worth of stolen mobile phones are lying unclaimed in police stations around Australia even though tracing their owners is a simple process.

Handsets can be tracked via the IMEI serial number, unique to each phone and recorded by whichever of the three carriers, Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, whose network you use. The carriers are updated regularly by the police with the lists of IMEI numbers of handsets they have recovered.

Subscribers who lose their phone or have it stolen should report it immediately to their service provider. However, don't expect your provider to contact you if the phone turns up.

To get your phone back if the police recover it requires subscribing to the industry's Find-a-Phone program for $22 a year.

Reg Robertson managing director of Find-a-Phone explains: “When you report your mobile phone has been lost or stolen to your service provider, your IMEI number is entered into our central database. If your phone is recovered, as a subscriber, you are notified immediately.”

Find-a-Phone has opened its program for free during July to raise awareness of the service and give all those who have lost their phone the chance to find it.

Go to the Find-a-Phone website at, click on the Found Phones icon and enter the IMEI number. If the phone has been recovered, you will be advised of the collection location.

Your service provider will have a record of your phone's IMEI number. (Anyone can check their IMEI number by pressing * # 0 6 # on the handset – it will appear on the display panel).