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Comments on news posted 2012-11-02 16:30:36: Back in April wireless carriers and the government announced that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). ..

page: 1 · 2 · next


Rob
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Miami, FL
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Comcast

Should also reduce fraud..

No longer will someone be able to give their phone to a friend, then file a police report, and use the cellphone insurance to get another phone. Now if they report it stolen, the IMEI will be added to the database, deactivating the phone.
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silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

1 edit

Good idea...

This is a good idea to stop criminals from using them, but I don't think it makes up for the lack or personal responsibility. How many phones are truly stolen versus simply lost, falsely reported stolen, or poorly looked after? For someone to steal my phone they would have to actually take it out of my pocket or break into my house and have the slight chance of me not having it with me. Both are unlikely scenarios. Phones are not cars sitting in unmonitored parking lots. If you take reasonable measures to look after them the chance of them getting truly stolen is extremely slim.

This won't stop the amount of phones getting "stolen" it will only kill the after market.

"Carriers are also expected to ramp up education efforts aimed at reducing theft and resale."

I'll believe it when I see it.

8744675

join:2000-10-10
Decatur, GA
reply to Rob

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

Cellphone insurance isn't worth a rat's ass! I paid Verizon for handset insurance for 3 years, and when my phone took a dunk in the toilet, the insurance didn't cover squat. I had to pay for a new phone, which they said I would get back after sending in a rebate form, only the model number of the phone they sold me wasn't covered for the rebate.

I think the database should be online and open to everyone. That way, you can check the IMEI before handing over money to someone selling a phone on craigslist. It would cost the cell providers less by eliminating the need to call and tie up their phone reps to find out if a phone is listed as stolen.

On the down side, what is to stop the cell providers from listing someone's old phone once they upgrade to a new one, even if the old one hasn't been stolen? By turning the old phone into a brick, they could force people to buy new phones to get service.


PhoenixAZ
Get A Mac
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:1
reply to silbaco

Re: Good idea...

said by silbaco:

This is a good idea to stop criminals from using them, but I don't think it makes up for the lack or personal responsibility. How many phones are truly stolen versus simply lost, falsely reported stolen, or poorly looked after? For someone to steal my phone they would have to actually take it out of my pocket or break into my house and have the slight chance of me not having it with me. Both are unlikely scenarios. Phones are not cars sitting in unmonitored parking lots. If you take reasonable measures to look after them the chance of them getting truly stolen is extremely slim.

This won't stop the amount of phones getting "stolen" it will only kill the after market.

"Carriers are also expected to ramp up education efforts aimed at reducing theft and resale."

I'll believe it when I see it.

You're definitely right with that one. I don't even know how many times I've been to a bar, restaurant, or even playground where people would just leave their phone on the table as they go to do other things, such as using the restroom.


thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2
reply to 8744675

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

said by 8744675:

On the down side, what is to stop the cell providers from listing someone's old phone once they upgrade to a new one, even if the old one hasn't been stolen? By turning the old phone into a brick, they could force people to buy new phones to get service.

That was my thought as well. I could definitely see Verizon doing this.


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to silbaco

Re: Good idea...

said by silbaco:

How many phones are truly stolen versus simply lost, falsely reported stolen, or poorly looked after?

This won't stop the amount of phones getting "stolen" it will only kill the after market.

In New York, more than 40 percent of all robberies involve cellphones and in Washington, D.C., cellphone thefts accounted for 38 percent of all robberies in 2011.

If there is little to no aftermarket for stolen phones, the criminals will stop stealing them.
--
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»www.gop.com/2012-republican-plat···onalism/


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to 8744675

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

said by 8744675:

On the down side, what is to stop the cell providers from listing someone's old phone once they upgrade to a new one, even if the old one hasn't been stolen? By turning the old phone into a brick, they could force people to buy new phones to get service.

That might be an issue, but I doubt the Big 4 would do that. It would murder their reputation.

Another issue might be people reporting your phone stolen when it isn't, just to cause you some grief. Say an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend looking to make your life miserable.
--
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-platform_home/
»www.gop.com/2012-republican-plat···onalism/


Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
said by FFH5:

Another issue might be people reporting your phone stolen when it isn't, just to cause you some grief. Say an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend looking to make your life miserable.

That's what I was thinking. This could be abused in so many ways.

You could go further, and get even with your ex-boss with the right information.

silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA
reply to FFH5

Re: Good idea...

I have a hard time believing those numbers are truly all robberies. Around here, the average stolen cell phone is a coverup for "I left at a bar," "I was drunk and left it at a party," "I forgot it on the roof of my car and drove off," "I was stupid and left it lying around," "I dropped it on the sidewalk," "I left my phone at my gf/bf's house and they read my texts and flushed the phone down the toilet when the realized I was cheating on them," etc. Avoiding the challenge of personal responsibility and possible humiliation. I can't count the amount of teenagers especially that I have seen use the excuse of it being stolen to cover up their irresponsibility.


Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT
reply to silbaco
said by silbaco:

"Carriers are also expected to ramp up education efforts aimed at reducing theft and resale."

There ya go, since it would hurt their "sales".

Truthfully, if someone talented enough wanted to sell a stolen phone, they could pull it off easily.

Tobester

join:2000-11-14
San Francisco, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to 8744675

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

said by 8744675:

On the down side, what is to stop the cell providers from listing someone's old phone once they upgrade to a new one, even if the old one hasn't been stolen? By turning the old phone into a brick, they could force people to buy new phones to get service.

I can't think the cellphone providers would want to do this since most everyone keeps their old phones as a backup device.

plat2on1

join:2002-08-21
Hopewell Junction, NY
reply to FFH5
said by FFH5:

said by 8744675:

On the down side, what is to stop the cell providers from listing someone's old phone once they upgrade to a new one, even if the old one hasn't been stolen? By turning the old phone into a brick, they could force people to buy new phones to get service.

That might be an issue, but I doubt the Big 4 would do that. It would murder their reputation.

Another issue might be people reporting your phone stolen when it isn't, just to cause you some grief. Say an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend looking to make your life miserable.

if they are able to report your phone stolen they would be able to cancel your account entirely. seems like a non issue to me.


Bootes
Premium
join:2005-01-28
New York, NY
reply to silbaco

Re: Good idea...

How many of them are filing fake police reports on their stolen phone? Maybe they tell their friend's and family that it was stolen, but I doubt they're filing police reports and being counted in these statistics.


Bootes
Premium
join:2005-01-28
New York, NY

1 recommendation

reply to silbaco
If you find a lost phone and try to sell it, you're stealing it and the phone belongs in this list anyway. It's fairly easy to figure out who owns the phone and get it back to them. If you can't be bothered with this, give it to the police or some sort of lost and found where you found it.

Here's an example of how a phone gets stolen.

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-nUxexM···embedded


bobjohnson
Premium
join:2007-02-03
Orlando, FL
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·T-Mobile US
reply to FFH5
said by FFH5:

said by silbaco:

How many phones are truly stolen versus simply lost, falsely reported stolen, or poorly looked after?

This won't stop the amount of phones getting "stolen" it will only kill the after market.

In New York, more than 40 percent of all robberies involve cellphones and in Washington, D.C., cellphone thefts accounted for 38 percent of all robberies in 2011.

If there is little to no aftermarket for stolen phones, the criminals will stop stealing them.

Or the criminals that steal phones will learn how to clone imeis.
--


MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Apple & Goolge will support this

I wonder how many new pre-launch iPhone & Nexus phones will show up on list? I can think of at least a couple.

silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA
reply to Bootes

Re: Good idea...

I think you would be surprised. If they can get something out of it, say insurance money, they'll do it.


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to Simba7

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

My guess is you have to file a police report.

If you file a fake police report it's a slam dunk win in a civil case if the victim sues you.

A guy I used to work with was once arrested after his neighbor filed a false police report. He spent the night in jail, and then was able to prove his innocence and the charges were dropped. He filed a civil suit against the neighbor and got a nice judgement.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to PhoenixAZ

Re: Good idea...

said by PhoenixAZ:

You're definitely right with that one. I don't even know how many times I've been to a bar, restaurant, or even playground where people would just leave their phone on the table as they go to do other things, such as using the restroom.

... and that makes it ok for someone else to pickup and sell/use because.....
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
It may not be right but it's not the Govt's nor carriers job to baby sit the customer either. What happens when I lost my phone and report it lost, it goes on the database and I end up getting it back. does the IEMI get removed from the list? This is another crazy form of regulation to "protect" those that don't want to take responsibility on anything.

The better question is though will resellers be forced to comply? Especially companies like Cricket that allow flashed phones and will take any phone as long as it works, since they maintain their own database and will reuse phones regardless if reported stolen or not.


jhacker

join:2001-12-11
Peoria, IL

Still Won't Stop Many

This database may help to stop phones from being reactivated on a cellular account. However, can't all smartphones still be used on a wi-fi network, almost like a regular smartphone? My son's iPhone was stolen last year, and the thief sold it right away to make a quick buck. The buyer was able to use wi-fi, even though he couldn't activate the phone with Sprint. Apple would not totally deactivate the iPhone, so essentially he could use it with Google Voice without a problem.


jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3

Oh...

I thought that a database of phones was stolen. I guess that you have to read the whole thing.


silentlooker
Premium
join:2009-11-01

Not going to stop professional thieves

Professional thieves will just change imei number. It will not stop anything.


OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH
Or places from just buying the stolen phones for parts. So instead of Gazelle.com paying you a few hundred for the phone they will pay under a hundred knowing its stolen (when they get it and they cant use it to resell) to use the parts for refurbs.


buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to Tobester

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

Once your out of contract or fulfilled your contract it I'm sure the providers will not only let you unlock your phone but provide you a clean IMEI from that point on. The thing is those people who dont fill out there contract and skip out on it 1/2 way through if they don't pay the ETF there phones IMEI may/will be put on the block list.

This may also change the current rules carriers have for ETF, they may also add on a prorated $ amount on top of the current ETF to cover the phone subsidy as well. dont pay the ETF and prorated phone subsidy amount? phone gets IMEI banned as well.

This can go so many ways...


buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to jhacker

Re: Still Won't Stop Many

Jhacker I kind of agree with you it will only stop phones form being reactivated. The crooks will just circumnavigate the system how? Cant sell the entire phone because the IMEI is bad? Do the same thing they do with cars, disassemble it and sell it for parts on craigslist or ebay.

Just as much is made in repairs as there is in straight sales..

"You can build a better mouse trap but the mouse will just get smarter"


buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US

Will this be retroactive? Or start from today?

Thats what needs to be asked for the amount of phones that are already stolen and unknowingly being used because this database was not in place. Will those currently in use be exempt or will there be a lot of unhappy campers who currently have service and will wake up one day and see there phones have no service, when trying to dial out there will be a prompt that says " were sorry your call is being redirected to customer service please hold"

I could see a lot of that happening if they go retroactive with the system



buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to plat2on1

Re: Should also reduce fraud..

Most people report there phones stolen and file police reports because the big 4 are usually lenient if you come to them with a police report and will hand you a free phone, NOW It wont be new ( or the 600 brand new iphone) you lost but they will supply you with a used refurbished 1-2 generation older smartphone (iphone).
I had A friend in NY whos car was broken into the thief saw his Iphone 4s in the cupholder broke the back glass and took the phone only and left the cash that was in the glovebox! He filed a police report took it to ATT and they gave him A used (refurb) Iphone 4 free.

That alone may get a lot of people to file a police report, just to evade purchasing a new phone even if they lost it and it was not stolen.


buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to TBBroadband

Re: Good idea...

Reporting it lost vs. stolen are looked at 2 different ways by the big carriers this Ive noticed.
Lost means you are S.O.L, and you need to purchase a new phone, stolen with a police report you may be able to get your carrier to paly ball. ( see my post above).


buddahbless

join:2005-03-21
Premium
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
reply to silbaco
said by silbaco:

I think you would be surprised. If they can get something out of it, say insurance money, they'll do it.

Agreed, once they see a loophole ( which there is one see my posts above) its all over. Theres a big difference to report it stolen and get a free phone or say you lost it and be S.O.L and need to purchase a phone all over again.