Stolen Cellphones Will Be Tracked and Blocked

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The wireless industry is putting criminals on notice: phones reported stolen won't work anymore. But you can help cut phone theft crime, too.

CTIA, a wireless industry trade group, says all major carriers are now contributing to a database of smartphones that are reported stolen. Phones on the list will not be reactivated or provided service. CTIA President and CEO Steve Largent:

CTIA and its member companies have always been advocates for wireless users’ safety, which is why we’re pleased our members met the voluntary deadline to create databases that will prevent stolen smartphones from being reactivated.

While the GSM and CDMA databases are important, consumers also play a key role in protecting their information and preventing smartphone theft. By using passwords or PINs, as well as remote wiping capabilities, consumers can help to dry up the aftermarket for stolen devices. Today’s average wireless user stores a lot of personal information on a mobile device, such as pictures, video, banking and other sensitive data. It’s important consumers know that by taking simple precautions, such as downloading a few apps, they can protect their information from unauthorized users.

In other words, this move is meant to make stealing phones less profitable, and therefore less common. But there’s a lot you can do to help that the carriers can’t, and it’s laid out in Before It’s Gone: Steps to Deter Smartphone Thefts & Protect Personal Info.

Stacy Johnson

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