Cellular carriers have finally complete the unified database that prevents stolen phones from being used on 3G and 4G networks if their owners report them as stolen. However, it’s not the most foolproof method. Regions like Russia and China are not participating, despite being a major destination for stolen phones.
Earlier this fall, a number of US district attorneys from major cities like New York and San Francisco accused CTIA and carriers of blocking a Kill Switch that would deter phone thefts. Stolen databases like the one being used by CTIA are fairly ineffective since they are not being implemented in all countries, especially ones where stolen phones are highly prevalent.
In a press release detailing the new theft prevention system, Jeff Largent, CTIA Wireless Association’s CEO, said:
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.
Another important element to stopping stolen phones is consumers. To assist users, we offer a list of apps to download that will remotely erase, track and/or lock the stolen devices. We also remind consumers to pay attention to their surroundings. Similar to your purse or wallet, it’s best to not call attention to your smartphone and create an opportunity for a thief to steal it (e.g., leave it on a restaurant table, use it while walking or taking public transportation, allowing strangers to ‘borrow’ it to get directions, etc.).
To download CTIA’s theft-prevention apps, visit this page.