Carriers Ignore, Profit From Phone Thefts, Say Cops

Critics complain that industry isn't trying to curb rising crime numbers

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 2, 2013 2:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Cell phone thefts are on the rise across the country, and police say the people swiping them aren't the only ones to blame. "The carriers are not innocent in this whole game," Washington DC's police chief tells the New York Times. "They are making profit off this." Carriers mostly trust the national stolen phone database to deter thieves, but it's largely ineffective because the numbers identifying a phone in the database are easily changed, and many phones wind up overseas anyway.

San Francisco's DA says he met with Apple on the issue, but emerged with no sense that it planned to do anything. "This is a crime that could be easily fixed with a technological solution," he says. Some experts liken it to car theft, which plummeted once cars started implementing anti-theft measures. But carriers protest that they are working on the problem; Verizon, for instance, has created its own stolen phone database, while Apple has a "Find My iPhone" feature, though it won't do much unless you're, say, this guy.

Somewhere, a carrier hears a cash register ringing.
Somewhere, a carrier hears a cash register ringing.   (Shutterstock)
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