How easy is it for a phone to be lost or stolen? It’s pretty darn easy. Just check out the video embedded after the jump of a thief waiting for just the right time to steal a phone and run.
What if phones were worth less when stolen, or even worthless? Back in April, the FCC announced a plan to help devalue stolen phones by getting the multiple carriers out there to cooperate and share a database of stolen phones. With the database in place, a customer would be able to report the identifying information of their phone and have it disabled. This way a stolen phone cannot be reused by any of the major carriers. With phones not functioning after being reported stolen, this should reduce the profitability of the illegal second-hand market and make phones a less attractive target for theives.
The CTIA put out two notices with the announcement of their voluntary agreement with the FCC. They released an official statement on the effort to combat phone theft. They also have steps to take before your phone is lost or stolen and how to protect personal info.
If you know your smartphone is stolen, immediately notify your wireless provider so you can avoid incurring charges on the usage. If your device is lost, tell your provider to put a “hold” on your account so that if it ends up being stolen, you’ve prevented unauthorized usage. You may also report your smartphone stolen to your local police department. Let them know what tracking or other kinds of apps you have installed that may help them locate the thief.
How to Report a Lost/Stolen Smartphone:
- AT&T – website or 1-800-801-1101
- Cellcom – 1-800-236-0055
- MetroPCS – 1-888-863-8768
- Sprint Nextel Corporation – 1-888-211-4727
- T-Mobile USA – website or 1-800-937-8997
- U.S. Cellular – 1-888-944-9400
- Verizon Wireless – website or 1-800-922-0204