Cell Tips

A recent crime trend nationwide is the theft of cellular phones. This is due to the advancement of cellular technology and proliferation of expensive smart phones.  A smart phone can be worth several hundred dollars to thieves and it is very easy to sell and/or unlock to be used with other carriers.

Most of the thefts occur when the thief approaches on foot and grabs the phone out of the victims hand, purse, pocket or off of a table.

The following are tips help the public in the event your phone is stolen or to assist in preventing these types of theft.

1) Keep details. Make a record of all your phone information and keep this in a safe place. Include the following elements in the information.

  • Your phone number
  • The make and model
  • Color and appearance details
  • The pin or security lock code
  • The IMEI number (on GSM phones)

2) Add a security mark somewhere on the phone to assist in identification.

3) Use the security lock code, or PIN feature, to lock your phone. This will make it less valuable to a thief and deny them access to personal numbers stored on your SIM card.

4) Register your phone with your network operator. If your phone is stolen, report the loss to them immediately. Using your IMEI number, they may be able to block your hand set and account details. Some wireless carriers are willing to do this, and some aren’t. If done, this will prevent anyone from using the phone across any network, even if the SIM card is changed.

  • Keep in mind that once the phone is disabled, it may not be able to be used again, even if you get it back. [2]
  • Keep records of this call–the date, time, name of the person you spoke to, what they said, and their extension. Ask for confirmation in writing that your phone has been disabled.[3] This is important in case the thief makes fraudulent charges on your account.

5) File a police report.

6) Use tracking software on the phone.

  • Find my Iphone. (Apple)
  • Theft Aware (Android)
  • Gadget Track (Windows / Blackberry/Apple).

7) When using your phone in public:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t set your phone down or leave it unattended.
  • When using earphones, keep the volume down low enough you can hear someone approaching you.

 

Senate Bill H.R.1730 (Cell Phone Theft Prevention Act of 2013) was assigned to a congressional committee on 4/25/13. This bill aims to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit mobile service providers from providing service on mobile devices that have been reported stolen, to require such providers to give consumers the ability to remotely delete data from mobile devices, to prohibit the alteration or removal of mobile device identification numbers, and for other purposes.