Smartphone Database Aims to Prevent Thefts

December 3, 2013

One of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S. is cell phone theft, and the nation’s four largest U.S. carriers, along with the Federal Communications Commission, have banded together to curtail it with a national registry of lost and stolen phones. They’re hoping it can be used to deny activation of reported stolen phones as well as reduce the value of stolen smartphones that thieves try to sell. 

The database lists stolen 4G/LTE smartphones, and the plan is to integrate it with international databases. The database will be maintained by each carrier and will track all phones reported stolen via the phone’s serial number.

“The matter of stolen devices is extremely important to wireless providers,” says Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association. “As more countries and more carriers around the world participate in the 3G and 4G/LTE databases, criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated.”

CTIA still encourages consumers to use apps or programs to protect their phones from theft as well. Several services exist to help find lost phones or remotely wipe them clean to secure data, such as Android Device Manager or Find my iPhone. Apple recently debuted the Activation Lock feature on the iOS 7, which makes it impossible to reactivate a lost or stolen device without an Apple ID and password. 

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey for REALTOR(R) Magazine Daily News

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