If you use your phone in public you could be at risk of losing your life savings, according to a shocking interview by Burnley’s Dave Fishwick.

Dave, whose real-life battle to set up a community bank has been turned into Netflix film Bank of Dave, interviewed the leader of an organised crime gang who makes thousands of pounds from snatching people’s mobile phones.

On Good Morning Britain (GMB), Dave said the leader can make “20, 30, 40 thousand pounds a day”.

According to Dave, thieves who actually take the phones can make £2,500 a day from ‘shoulder surfing’, a method of identity theft where thieves steal your personal data while spying over your shoulder.



Criminals are also found on mopeds or e-scooters and are known to snatch the phones from victims' hands at the side of the road hoping they are unlocked – giving the thief full access to your apps and personal information.

On GMB the criminal, who was kept anonymous, said: “I’ve got my little team, they go and bring me phones and I will buy those phones off them.

“We don’t want the physical phones. We don’t need them. [Thieves] give me numbers, details, if they have money on the phones.

“The boys know… they’ve got to look on there [for] certain apps to see if they can get through and change the passwords.

“They give me the account numbers, how much they have on the account and I will give them the account number to send it to.”

Dave said the thieves target everyone adding that the leader he interviewed showed no remorse.

The leader said: “Back in the day when I [was] hungry and [my] girl is pregnant and the government aren’t giving me any money, who feels guilty for me?

“It’s business.”

Speaking to the GMB hosts Dave said: “They are targeting everybody, from the poorest to the richest. They are looking for bars, restaurants and clubs. They look over your shoulder and the number you put into your phone. Once they have your phone they have you.

“They don’t care. They want your money, they want your phone. Him and his team are terrible people.

“These people are on thousands of pounds a day. They think they are entrepreneurs and they think they are on a job – like somebody setting up a plumbing business.

“He’s ripping people off, he’s stealing from them.”

Dave also revealed ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, which includes avoiding using your phone in public and keeping it out of sight.

He recommended using a smart watch to answer calls, tucking your phone away in an inside pocket and use cheap earbuds to listen to music, in order to prevent having your phone out in the open.

The Metropolitan Police also offered advice.

It said:

Be aware of your surroundings

  • If you need to call or use your phone on the street, look out for anyone on a bike or a moped near you. Look up, look out
  • Make it quick so you don't become distracted
  • Don't text while you're walking – you won't notice what's going on around you
  • If that's not possible, stand away from the roadside, close to a building or wall, so no one can come up behind you
  • Going hands-free can prevent a thief from snatching your phone out of your hand

Use security features on your phone

  • You must switch on your phone's security features to protect your phone
  • Use the keypad lock so that thieves cannot immediately access your phone, or use the biometric authentication if your phone has it (finger print or facial recognition)
  • Your phone may have other security features you can use – these could allow you to wipe data, lock your handset, or prevent a thief from restoring a phone to its factory settings from another internet device
  • Consider installing an anti-theft app. These can be an effective way of helping police trace your phone and identify the thief

Know how to identify your phone if it's stolen

  • Every phone has an IMEI number which helps police and insurance companies to identify it if it's stolen. UK network operators can also stop a stolen phone from working across their networks with its IMEI
  • Find your IMEI number by dialling *#06# from your phone and keep a written note of it; if the phone is stolen, report the number to your mobile provider to stop it being used
  • Register your valuables on an accredited property database.