Police Urge Smartphone Users to Install GPS Tracker16 Aug 2012
Smartphone thefts are becoming so pervasive throughout the United States that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently embarked on a quest to combat the crime, including working with wireless companies on the growing problem.
In major cities, like DC and New York, approximately 40 percent of all thefts now involve cell phones, according to the FCC. In D.C. for example, the percentage of cell phone robberies is up over 50 percent. These robberies not only endanger the physical safety of their victim, but the safety of the confidential and personal information left behind on the stolen devices.
Based upon the mobile revolution and the safety and security of the people and devices that are part of the digital era, the FCC and other law enforcement officials are urging people to take steps to secure their device, and help law enforcement catch the suspects who steal these mobile devices.
“We are encouraging all smartphone owners to download an app for tracing your phone. Then, if it is lost or stolen, it is much more likely that you can get it back. Even if your phone is covered by insurance and you can get a replacement, losing all your contacts and other personal details can be devastating. These new applications are very useful tools for tracking down stolen goods and catching criminals in the act. If owners report thefts quickly enough there’s a better chance of getting their phones back and for us to catch the perpetrators before they have disposed of any evidence,” said Paul Doran, from Hertfordshire Crime Reduction Unit.
Second, its important for people to take precautions to help reduce their chance of being victimized by a would-be cellphone thief. The FCC offers these tips:
- Don’t leave your cellphone unattended in public areas.
- Require a password to access the cell phone.
- Lock the device by installing anti-theft software
- Install software that wipes sensitive data from it.
- Establish a screen lock display that includes your phone number and email address.
- Write down your devices serial number, along with its make and model.
- Report an immediate theft to law enforcement and your carrier.
In addition, the FCC is working on creating a national database of stolen smartphones, in addition to stolen tables. The database will be used by carriers to disable stolen tablets and cellphones, with the purpose of significantly reducing their black market resale value. So, far reports indicate that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have agreed to supporting the stolen cell phone initiative, which accounts for roughly 90 percent of all the cellphones in the United States. The cell phone carrier firms are working on creating their own databases, and will merge these individual database into a single list within two years.
“We’re sending a message to consumers that we’ve got your back, and a message to criminals that we’re cracking down on the stolen phone and tablet resale market and making smartphone theft a crime that doesn’t pay,” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said.