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AT&T Launching New Blocking Service For Stolen Devices
After Lawsuit Highlighted Company Did Little About Theft
by Karl Bode 08:49AM Monday Jul 09 2012
A lawsuit filed against AT&T earlier this year alleged that the company has intentionally done little to nothing on their end about mobile phone theft in order to make money. The suit accuses AT&T of failing to put a block on stolen phones like other carriers, in order to ensure they don't lose money from a) victims having to buy a new phone and b) being able to do business with thieves who bring the devices in to stores. After some growing pressure AT&T and other finally agreed to mirror European requirements and keep a cross-carrier stolen device database, and AT&T launched stolen phone website aimed at helping theft victims. AT&T is also now launching a new service that will allow users to block SMS, voice and data services on a specific device on your account:
quote:
According to the guidance, AT&T will compile a "blocklist" of stolen devices and service will be automatically suspended "if any attempt is made to use a device that is stored in the blocklist." The only way to add a device to the list will be by contacting a customer service representative directly, and users with remote data wipe apps will be required to activate them before suspending their device, to "prevent access to their personal information."
After doing little to nothing for so long to help deal with device theft, AT&T seems to certainly be singing a new tune.

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Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2

Silly me...

Silly me, I thought that ALL mobile carriers had always "blacklisted" phones that were reported stolen. Anytime I heard about someone getting a phone stolen or a cellphone store broken into and dozens of phones taken, I always thought, "They can't use them, why steal them? No carrier will activate them."

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Re: Silly me...

said by Hall:

Silly me, I thought that ALL mobile carriers had always "blacklisted" phones that were reported stolen. Anytime I heard about someone getting a phone stolen or a cellphone store broken into and dozens of phones taken, I always thought, "They can't use them, why steal them? No carrier will activate them."

The generated more business for the carriers. A stolen phone has to be used at some point and that is a potential new customer. Only public pressure has finally convinced them to stop treating stolen devices as an opportunity to sell service.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
said by Hall:

Silly me, I thought that ALL mobile carriers had always "blacklisted" phones that were reported stolen. Anytime I heard about someone getting a phone stolen or a cellphone store broken into and dozens of phones taken, I always thought, "They can't use them, why steal them? No carrier will activate them."

For GSM phones, the SIM card is what's activated, not the phone. Simply pop out the old SIM card and pop in a new one. The phone's IMEI (assuming the customer knows what it is) can technically be blocked as well. Is that what AT&T is doing now?

Even so, until the national stolen phone database system is implemented, there's nothing preventing the person who steals it could always just pop out the AT&T SIM card and put in a T-Mobile one.

Even when the national database is created and used, the phones can still be taken out of the country and used outside the U.S.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.

NOCTech75
Premium
join:2009-06-29
Marietta, GA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Silly me...

said by Morac:

said by Hall:

Silly me, I thought that ALL mobile carriers had always "blacklisted" phones that were reported stolen. Anytime I heard about someone getting a phone stolen or a cellphone store broken into and dozens of phones taken, I always thought, "They can't use them, why steal them? No carrier will activate them."

For GSM phones, the SIM card is what's activated, not the phone. Simply pop out the old SIM card and pop in a new one. The phone's IMEI (assuming the customer knows what it is) can technically be blocked as well. Is that what AT&T is doing now?

Yes, the block is based upon the IMEI.
Cobra11M

join:2010-12-23
Mineral Wells, TX

Re: Silly me...

said by NOCTech75:

said by Morac:

said by Hall:

Silly me, I thought that ALL mobile carriers had always "blacklisted" phones that were reported stolen. Anytime I heard about someone getting a phone stolen or a cellphone store broken into and dozens of phones taken, I always thought, "They can't use them, why steal them? No carrier will activate them."

For GSM phones, the SIM card is what's activated, not the phone. Simply pop out the old SIM card and pop in a new one. The phone's IMEI (assuming the customer knows what it is) can technically be blocked as well. Is that what AT&T is doing now?

Yes, the block is based upon the IMEI.

then what you have is people that will try to change that IMEI number...

never ending battle, I can see ezbay being filled up with a bunch of phones for parts in the near future
georgeglass5

join:2010-06-07
New York, NY

kuching$

Yet another way for them to nickel & dime their customer base, you can bet this won't be free

NOCTech75
Premium
join:2009-06-29
Marietta, GA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: kuching$

said by georgeglass5:

Yet another way for them to nickel & dime their customer base, you can bet this won't be free

Actually it is free.

PToN
Premium
join:2001-10-04
Houston, TX

ATT Catching up...

This has been in place for years in European and South American markets...

You call and tell them your phone was stolen and they will block the IMEI

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: ATT Catching up...

said by PToN:

This has been in place for years in European and South American markets...

You call and tell them your phone was stolen and they will block the IMEI

Verizon has been doing this for eons. If you look on eBay for phones that work with Verizon, you'll notice ones that advertise "bad ESNs" vs. "good ESNs."
--
Romney 2012 - Put an adult in charge.
nanaki333

join:2010-08-11
Chantilly, VA

Re: ATT Catching up...

unfortunately, even CDMA phones with bad ESNs can be used. places like Cricket will still take other phones if they're unlocked. when the EVO 4G first came out, Cricket jumped at offering people to bring an EVO over. hopefully this new database will be used by all carriers so wouldbe thieves can't use them at all (save for cloning MEID).

odog
Cable Centric Vendor Biased
Premium,VIP
join:2001-08-05
Atlanta, GA
kudos:14

What about all the already stolen phones

Are they going to brick all of those?
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1

IMEI

Anyone want to buy a phone with a bad IMEI? lol
moresuo

join:2001-08-26
Stewartsville, NJ

Re: IMEI

You'd be amazed. Like stolen cars the biggest market isn't for the car, its for the parts after it's stripped down. This is especially true of iPhones, but the android devices are not without their own issues in this regard.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: IMEI

Excellent....
stufried
Premium
join:2003-10-13

Better Include the MVNOs

Hopefully this applies to all the ATT MVNOs as well. Bet you 2/3s of the stolen iPhones are activated on StraightTalk or PocketMobile.