New Online Mobile Phone check sends strong signal to thieves

The  Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) has launched a new online inquiry service that makes it convenient for consumers and second-hand sellers to check if a mobile telephone has been reported lost or stolen and blocked from use by the network carriers.

AMTA CEO Graham Chalker said the new online web access - part of the Australian mobile telecommunication industry’s anti-theft measures - provides greater protection for consumers.

“This new online service provides a consumer with a quick and easy way to check on the status of a mobile phone. They can have confidence that a mobile phone they are buying has not been reported lost or stolen,” he said.

“This sends a strong signal to thieves and gives consumers more protection.”

People in the market to buy a second-hand phone through a second-hand dealer or over the internet will be able to check at /default.asp?Page=405 if it has been reported lost or stolen and has been blocked from use by the network carriers.

Mr Chalker said efforts to prevent the theft of mobile phones would be further strengthened by new legislation before the Federal Parliament, which makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to two years’ jail, to “rebirth” stolen mobile telephones by illegally modifying the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI).

Almost 12 months ago, the Australian mobile telephone industry introduced a world-first, anti-theft technology which blocks lost or stolen mobile phones by using each phone’s unique 15-digit electronic serial number.

Mr Chalker said: “Nearly 165,000 mobiles have been blocked in the nine months since the program started.”

AMTA operates the new anti-theft technology which shares information among carriers, ensuring a lost or stolen mobile phone is virtually worthless because once reported as missing they cannot be connected to any network in Australia.

The new online service – /default.asp?Page=405 - for consumers and second-hand sellers also allows law enforcement agencies to check if a mobile telephone’s IMEI – the phone’s electronic serial number – has been blocked with the carriers.

Mr Chalker said: “The new online service complements the IMEI anti-theft technology introduced by the industry and administered by AMTA.

“The new online access is like the system used in the car industry, which allows consumers to check the status of vehicles before they purchase them.” 

Mr Chalker said IMEI blocking, tough new penalties for “rebirthing” and co-operation between AMTA and State and Territory police forces to tackle mobile phone theft were only part of the solution.

“IMEI blocking is only part of the answer to reduce mobile phone theft. Customers need to reduce the chance of theft or loss by following some simple commonsense security practices.”


AMTA’s “Mind Your Mobile” security tips:

· If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your service provider and the police immediately.

· Treat your phone as you would any valuable item; remember a mobile can cost a significant amount and can contain important personal information.

· Don't leave your phone on display in crowded or insecure areas, especially in your car. About half of the mobile telephones stolen in Australia are taken from motor vehicles.

·  Always ensure your mobile’s Personal Identification Number (PIN) is activated. · Treat your mobile as you would a credit card: if it is lost or stolen report it immediately.

For more information contact Randal Markey, Manager, Communications, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550