The CTIA, an international association for the wireless industry, has flipped the switch on databases that will block stolen cellphones from being used on the four major wireless networks – AT&T, Verizon, T-mobile & Sprint. The staggering number of thefts involving cellphones in the past 5 years has prompted several special interest groups to research methods which will, at the very least, discourage such activity. Carriers have blocked stolen SIM cards from working on phones reported as stolen in the past. Thanks to the D-I-Y nature of the internet, numerous guides exist which detail the process of unlocking phones, allowing thieves to sell the phones once again. Setbacks have delayed the implementation of this database– notably the difference in network technology– since the announcement of this database in April, steps have been taken to resolve the issue. AT&T & T-mobile are offering a joint database for their GSM based network, while Verizon & Sprint will offer their own independent databases utilizing their CDMA technology.
All other carriers are highly encouraged to join the effort to discourage the stolen phone market and help is being offered by the GSM Association to prevent stolen phones from being shipped and used overseas as well. To familiarize yourself with how to properly deal with a stolen smartphone, be sure to head over here.
Be sure you know where the location of your IMEI Number is, normally located under your battery (or in the case of iPhones, iTunes will provide this information on it’s main Phone screen for you). In many cases you can get your IMEI Number by dialing *#06# as well. More information about the CTIA can be found on their webpage.