While sitting back in my recliner checking out the World News, a headline comes across the screen… “A rise in smart-phone thefts.” I tuned in because while this affects me as well as others that I personally know, I was wondering what type of “word that rhymes with hazy” person would do something like this?
Smartphones have become very popular in the past few years and everyone wants to have a taste; however, everyone is not fortunate enough to purchase these devices at full price or through their cell phone providers. Because of this, they look for cheaper avenues to get their hands on these coveted gadgets. Consumers are choosing to purchase stolen phones that have been lowered in price from sources ranging from bargain websites like eBay or Craigslist to illegal sellers on the street.
In December 2011 alone, the New York Police Department made over 140 arrests of merchants choosing to purchase stolen iPhones even after they were warned that the devices were stolen. Smartphones are such a hot commodity that law enforcement is requesting that consumers be more careful when using their devices in public. Walking around in public with the devices are even being equated to walking around with a $500 bill inviting theft.
It seems that officials are making every attempt to make consumers aware of the rise in smartphone thefts and are taking precautions to keep these incidents down. Of course, the number one targeted smartphone is the iPhone. The problem has become so large that the Federal Communication Commissions (FCC) is working to help protect potential victims. A new database is in the developmental stages and will be implemented for all major cell phone carriers allowing consumers to report their phones as stolen. Once the stolen phones are reported, the carrier will then take action to prevent the device from being reactivated with any carrier.
Apple is also joining the efforts in doing their part in assisting with this problem. The “Find My iPhone” theft deterrent service which assists consumers with tracking, locking, and wiping out stolen or lost devices has proven to be effective in locating and tracking down stolen iPhones. Other smartphone vendors should take note.
Although the FCC and cell phone carriers are doing as much as possible to limit and prevent these thefts, it also requires actions to be taken on the consumers part. As merchants are always looking for cheaper deals, it is important that the deal that is being made is not illegal. Purchasing illegal smartphones or other devices is no longer necessary. I, personally, always notice good, legal deals on smartphones everywhere I turn. When merchants begin taking advantage of only legal purchases, we will definitely see a decline in the amount of stolen devices. As long as these illegal sellers have customers, we will continue to see a rise in the theft game.
What precautions are you taking to prevent smartphone theft?