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Cell Phone Thefts on the Rise

May 5, 2013
Plain English Version

When your cell phone is stolen, there is a chance it can be shut down and be of no use to the thief. That is because of a nationwide database of stolen phones.

That has not stopped the rising number of cell phone thefts. There are two reasons. First, many stolen phones are sent overseas. The database does not go that far. Second, it is easy to modify the ID codes of phones so they cannot be shut down.

Sixty-nine billion dollars worth of cell phones were sold in the U.S. last year. The theft of smart phones keeps increasing and victims keep replacing them.

The police say the cell phone companies are a big part of the problem. That is because the more cell phones are sold, the more money the companies make. They are not working hard enough on the technology to solve the problem.

San Francisco’s district attorney met with Apple to talk about improving technology. He said he left the meeting with no promises.

The cell phone makers and carriers such as Verizon say they are working on the problem.

The thieves are very active also. They are learning new ways to wipe out I.D. codes. They are shipping phones overseas or selling them on the street.

Stolen iPhones are selling for $400 to $500. The starting price of a new iPhone is $650.

Thefts will continue to rise until something is done to make it not worth the time and money to modify a phone.

Source: The New York Times

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