Sunday, August 26, 2007

Have You Ever Got Your Lost Mobile Phone

So far I have lost three mobile phones; one good thing about this is that I didn’t find any of them coming in my hand again. Well, one more thing that I have discovered - all have been stolen from my custody.

No doubt I have lost many things from sweetheart to honey money, to old-and-gold friends. But I have found them someway or the other way in one corner or the other in my life. The sorry part of the story is that I did not encounter these gadgets which had been occupying once one part of my life.

Every time I lost my mobile phone I keep on thinking a call would come saying – is this your mobile phone? Please collect it from me. It has never happened, and perhaps would ever occur.

I have seen stolen money being recovered, the product of one’s life educational marksheets being given to the owner. But I have never seen or heard a mobile phone being recovered. Why one lost mobile phone doesn’t surface back? Where it goes after parting from the owner?

It is not that all my mobile phones were high-end gadgets from Nokia 9**** series smartphones or Nseries multimedia computer series. They were simple gadgets with simple functionalities. The Finnish mobile giant describes those sets in the ultrabasic series. I have lost two sets of Nokia 1110 and one set of 1600 model.

These twos models are not more than Rs 2000. It is very surprising whoever has got fell in love with it and did not care to call me up. He didn’t even care this may be the gadget of a poor man soul, one’s last breathe.

This time when I lost my Nokia 1600 on that un-fateful day I was about to get a call for an interview. The organization was fantabulous and was eagerly waiting for the call. But God has his own plan. I lost my mobile and the interview call, so my dream job. Is he (the proud owners of my lost mobiles) listening?

A Serious Issue

The problem of mobile phone theft is not going to just go away. Mobile phones have been identified by the police as CRAVED (Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, Disposable) items that are highly attractive to thieves and this will be exacerbated as phones become more sophisticated and start to offer users advanced functionality, such as the ability to pay for goods and services directly through the handset.

So, how one could tackle the ever increasing mobile-theft menace?

The best, the most successful trick that can be applied is by remaining vigilant. Nazar hati aur durgantna gati. Someone is constantly prying on your mobile to get hold of it. If possible avoid overcrowded bus or mass commuting vehicles. Your constant companion that is the mobile set may go to other hand. Chances are more.

Keep your mobile phone in the front buttoned pocket of your shirt or in the deep inner pocket of your trouser.

After you buy a mobile set record the unique 15 or 17 digit code IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and keep it in a place where you place your all e-passwords of banks etc. This digit can be seen in the box your mobile comes. Or it can be retrieved by dialing the following sequence of numbers into the handset: *#06#. If you have a Sony Ericsson mobile phone, you can retrieve the IMEI by pressing the following key sequence: right,*, left, left,*, left, *, left.

This digit code is used to identify an individual mobile station to a GSM or UMTS network. The IMEI number facilitates an important function; it easily identifies a mobile phone being used on a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network.

The IMEI is a useful tool to stop a phone that is stolen from accessing a network and being used. Mobile phone owners that have their phones stolen can contact their mobile network provider and ask them to ban or shut off a phone using its IMEI number. With an IMEI number, the phone can be banned from the network quickly and easily. It is important to note that swapping a SIM card will not stop a phone from being banned.

Note: An IMEI device is only used to identify the device and does not usually relate to a specific individual or organization.

Note: However, it is possible to change an IMEI with special tools and there are certain mobile networks that do not automatically blacklist handsets. Current statistics state that about 10 % of current IMEI's in use today are not unique or have been reprogrammed (hacked).

Other safety tips are

Avoid using your phone in the street
Keep your phone out of sight
Use PIN codes to lock your phone
Turn off the ringer
Don't walk and txt

What can be done?

There is no magic wand either on the part of mobile phone owners or telecom operators to root out the problem.

With the IMEI, the crux thing is that it can be reprogrammed, it does not disable the handset from being usable. All it does is stop calls being made on the network that barred it. The handset itself is completely usable and does not lose its functionality.

Text bombing methods can be used as it has been done in Amsterdam.

Making phone theft unattractive by encouraging the use of cheap phones e.g Botswana.

Offer mobile phone security solution, which monitors phone proximity to owner and alarms on any phone security breach.

Curtailing the ready market of stolen phones.

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