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Smartphone Mugging More Popular Than Ever

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the not-popular-like-dance-music-is-popular dept.

Security 285

SternisheFan writes with this snippet from gizmodo: "The Associated Press reports that smartphone robberies now account for nearly half of all robberies in San Francisco, as well as an impressive 40 percent here in New York City. And the numbers aren't just high, they're getting higher fast. In Los Angeles, smartphone robberies are up 27 percent from last year, with no signs of slowing down. The thefts come in all varieties as well. Victims have reported having their phones—iPhones in particular (surprise!)—yanked out of their hands while talking, snatched just as public transit reaches a stop, or even taken at gunpoint." When I was relieved at gunpoint of my (very, very dumb) phone a few years ago in Philadelphia (very, very dumb), it made for a lousy evening. Have you been robbed (or accosted) like this? If so, where?

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285 comments

Serial Numbers (5, Interesting)

Archeopteryx (4648) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718061)

All of these phones know their serial numbers. Just make it totally impossible to ever register a stolen serial number for new service and this should slow way down.

Re:Serial Numbers (5, Insightful)

kronnek (982486) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718097)

They can just be sold in another country. Lots of stolen cars in Mexico and none are being run for vin/plates in America... Same thingin EU.

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718113)

Most US phones will not work on non-US cell phone networks. Especially CDMA phones.

Re:Serial Numbers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718993)

ATT iPhones aren't CDMA. A couple niggers tried to steal my iPhone a couple months ago. They asked me which carrier I used and when I said Verizon, they didn't steal it. Although they did make me suck their cocks. A buddy of mine has a Samsung Android phone. When he was jacked, they didn't take his phone (in fact, they told him to get a real phone) but did take his ass cherry. All in all, I got off rather easy.

Re:Serial Numbers (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718721)

They can just be sold in another country.

Or they can be sold in San Jose, California, where it is legal to steal phones. My wife's iPhone was stolen, and when she called the SJPD, she was told that "We don't do cell phone thefts, just download the insurance form from our website. <click>"

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718913)

San Jose is a fucking cesspool.

Re:Serial Numbers (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718959)

Did you call their emergency number? Even if you did, they would have you report the incident online or in person. Hell, they did it for a $20 bicycle (+$5 lock) I had just purchased. I did not even have the serial number to report. They never found it of course, by they sure did take a complaint, which would be counted in all sorts of statistics.
 
  Just to make sure, I just tried to file a complaint at sjpd.org. I see a specific category called Cell Phone (asking for Brand, Model Serial number). Even if you did not find the category, there sure is an Other category.

Re:Serial Numbers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718131)

IMEI blacklists are widely used in Europe. The problem is that, at least in Norway, few people actually bother to have the IMEI blacklisted if the phone is stolen. I get this impression from a number of forum posts where people seem oblivious to the possibility, and also other people openly admitting to be using stolen phones without being blocked (or visited by the police, even though they use a SIM registered in their name...).

Re:Serial Numbers (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718255)

IMEI blacklists are widely used in Europe. The problem is that, at least in Norway, few people actually bother to have the IMEI blacklisted if the phone is stolen.

In the US the vast majority of phones are purchased thru carriers. They already have your IMEI on file.

The FCC has finally gotten the four big carriers to start blocking IMEI numbers [digitaltrends.com] of stolen phones. You simply go back to your carrier and tell them you need a new phone because your old one was stolen. They will automatically add the stolen phone to t a nation wide database of stolen phones. It takes no effort on the users part.

While new IMEIs can be programmed into stolen handsets, the thieves don't have the skills to do this, (if they did they would be in a safer more profitable line of work). They just use the stolen phone till it dies and then steal a new one. I suppose some thieves work for rings exporting their wares to foreign countries.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718417)

Most carriers are the ones footing the bill. I wonder how many stolen phones turn over to paying accounts?

My opinion is that most are either sold for money for drugs, or they are used by drug dealers until the phone is turned off... If "bad people" are using them, chances are law enforcement wants the phones left active to see where they go.

Re:Serial Numbers (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718639)

Yes, but what is that duration? 20 minutes?

When my phone was stolen in a diner after walking way from it for maybe two minutes before walking back for it, I had it shut down within 10-15 minutes from another phone.

Even assuming there is a network where a standing order is made to purchase a stolen phone for use, there would still be time required for the logistics of shipping and fulfillment. I just can't see with how important and well used smart phone are, that the window for usage by drug dealers or other criminals would be large enough to be economically viable for all involved.

Re:Serial Numbers (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718909)

If You had the sim deactivated, the phone can still be usable by simply putting in a new sim, and perhaps jail breaking the phone. The phone still has value.
When IMEI numbers of stolen phones are universally banned, stolen phones have no value.
See the difference?

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

aklinux (1318095) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718595)

If you read the article, it says the FCC has gotten the major carriers to agree to start one. I haven't heard of actual implementation as yet. It seems like if it had started yet, theft should be decreasing and there would be no reason for the article.,

Too funny. The page that the artice you linked to is on has a link to a more recent article on the same subject. The database is scheduled to be up and running in late 2013. We have a year to go yet.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/20/thefts-cell-phones-on-rise-across-america/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fscitech+%28Internal+-+SciTech+-+Mixed%29

Re:Serial Numbers (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718205)

Just make it totally impossible to ever register a stolen serial number for new service and this should slow way down.

You'll stop the idiots who steal phones and keep them for personal use.
Everything else will just end up overseas.
End result: thieves will make a little bit less money selling to the black market, in order to cover the overhead from exporting the phones.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718663)

IIRC, CDMA and our form of LTE is not compatible overseas. Only a few smart phones are marketed as global phones. I used to have a BB that was made for that purpose.

Phones that are compatible overseas are not the majority of the market.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718303)

We've been doing that in Australia for about 10 years now, and the database is shared across all carriers

Re:Serial Numbers (2, Informative)

spacerodent (790183) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718321)

It's extremely easy to reprogram the IMEIs or MEIDs. Anyone who can install a copy of windows can manage it with some of the readily available free software floating about for "research purposes"

Re:Serial Numbers (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718821)

These are smartphones though. I don't think it's been possible to change the IMEI of an iDevice since the original Edge iPhone. Even then the program used (ziPhone) could fail spectacularly and brick the device. No experience with Android devices here so I cannot comment on the feasibility of reprogramming those IMEIs. It's basically impossible on iDevices though unless the thieves have access to exploits and tools that the jailbreak community do not.

Capcha: mugging

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718919)

Is anyone here up-to-date on this?

Wiki's quote, "New IMEIs can be programmed into stolen handsets and 10% of IMEIs are not unique." is from 2002.

IMEI are obviously pointless for anti-theft if anyone can generate anything, and have the carriers accept it. Also, after ten years the duplications are going to be a lot higher than 10%; there is no way a blacklist system could be practical.

Either IMEI is pointless, for all purposes, or work has been done to fix the standard. Anyone working in that field care to let us know?

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718923)

Extremely easy for you probably, but not for 99% of the people stealing cellphones, I can guarantee you.

Re:Serial Numbers (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718949)

Extremely easy for you probably, but not for 99% of the people stealing cellphones, I can guarantee you.

Unfortunately, there are people in the criminal world who specialize in doing things other criminals cannot; chop shop operators reduce cars to parts for resale, fences resell stolen property, money launderers of various sorts make ill-gotten gains look legitimate. I suspect that were IMEI blacklisting to become ubiquitous, we would see criminals specializing in reprogramming IMEIs. Might slow the torrent of theft, though.

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718999)

It seems there are a lot of cell phone shops where I am in Europe that sell colored plastic phone cases, replacement batteries, and will also unlock a carrier's contractual GSM phone for 5-10 euros. They typically use a Windows application and can do the procedure in a moment while the customer waits. If these shops all over the place can do this every hour or so already, I cannot see how blasting the stolen IMEI away is any different, however I honestly do not know myself.

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41719049)

Unless the thieves have access to better tools than the jailbreak community (aka Apple's internal tools) changing the iPhone's IMEI is impossible.

Re:Serial Numbers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718339)

In Australia all the carriers refer to a single database of stolen phones (via IMEI number), and smartphone theft (mugging style) is almost non-existant here.

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718353)

The providers don't care - stolen phones generate revenue the same as a non stolen, and as a bonus, the old owner needs a new phone (including a contract extension, of course...)

as long as there is no law that *forces* them to block stolen phones, they wont do shit to stop it.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

jamesh (87723) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718779)

The providers don't care - stolen phones generate revenue the same as a non stolen, and as a bonus, the old owner needs a new phone (including a contract extension, of course...)

as long as there is no law that *forces* them to block stolen phones, they wont do shit to stop it.

Profiting from stolen goods? Sounds like a crime to me, even if it is a bit of leap...

Re:Serial Numbers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718555)

Whos to say they didnt sell their device to someone else?
Whos to say the one reporting the serial number as stolen actually IS the owner...

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

Leslie43 (1592315) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718557)

Not only are the numbers easy to change, but the parts, particularly Iphones, are worth good money, which is where I suspect most of them end up.

Not only that, but carriers don't work together to limit the transfer of phones. Sprint users often take stolen or bad esn phones over to Cricket anmd get them put right back in service. Recently the government took efforts to get them to finally start working together on this.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718807)

I know they don't, but law enforcement should be able to give it a go at recovering the phones via GPS. Even if they just hired one guy to do it, they'd recover a bunch of phones and people would be happy. Of course if the phone was stolen at gun point, it could be risky business for this guy to do his job.

Re:Serial Numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718881)

Possession of stolen property is a crime basically everywhere. Retrieve the phone and prosecute the seller. I'm sure carriers would be happy to comply and make people terrified of buying phones on the used market.

Re:Serial Numbers (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about a year and a half ago | (#41719055)

Just make it totally impossible to ever register a stolen serial number for new service and this should slow way down.

Why? And turn away a new contract?

Back in the 90's this was the norm. They'd match the ESN against a database of reportedly stolen numbers. They don't give a flying fuck anymore and would rather get a new subscriber and contract than do anything to protect the lives and well being of the peons, err... current subscribers already locked into contracts.

BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718069)

And you are its target !!

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718123)

If the Smartphone Bandit tried to steal my iPhone, I would smash in the face, club him over the head, and cut out his liver... His tasty liver.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (1)

Xaide (1015779) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718195)

I used to get random schmoes on the street asking to use my phone as I pulled it out to check the time. Now I have a wristwatch and the worst I've gotten is, "Hey buddy, got the time?"

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (5, Interesting)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718291)

I had somebody ask me to use my smartphone at a light rail station in a reasonably nice part of Denver (at 11pm). I politely refused, but I couldn't help but wonder if this person was out to 1) just make a call, which was obviously not an emergency, 2) call some sort of pay-per-call or txt number that would put $20 on my phone bill and the person would get a commission, or 3) just start running, or pull out a weapon, and steal my phone.

Is this a common tactic for stealing phones?

I couldn't help but wonder if I should have let the person use it (I'm about 6'5, 265lbs, with a 36 inch waist, I exercise, etc - so it's not like I was picked out as being the "easy target")

In the end, I concluded that I was right to refuse a stranger access to my $700 "pocket computer" which contains all of my personal information, and costs about a hundred bucks a month to keep services to, in addition to the cost of the device.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718551)

Is this a common tactic for stealing phones?

Maybe. If you handed it to him, he'd probably run. If it was still in your pocket, instinct causes many people to reach for it to see if its still there. Even if you refuse the request, his buddy the pickpocket knows where it is now.

I'm about 6'5, 265lbs, with a 36 inch waist,

These people work in gangs. So unless you want to add 'skilled at practical self defense' to that (not all martial arts qualifies) that won't matter much. One guy grabs your phone and runs, two or three trip you, knock you down and kick the crap out of you.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (2)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718697)

Is this a common tactic for stealing phones?

Maybe. If you handed it to him, he'd probably run. If it was still in your pocket, instinct causes many people to reach for it to see if its still there. Even if you refuse the request, his buddy the pickpocket knows where it is now.

Indeed, I was VERY careful to be aware of where my phone was for the remainder of that trip, and I be "aware" while getting off the last train and walking to my truck.

I'm about 6'5, 265lbs, with a 36 inch waist,

These people work in gangs. So unless you want to add 'skilled at practical self defense' to that (not all martial arts qualifies) that won't matter much. One guy grabs your phone and runs, two or three trip you, knock you down and kick the crap out of you.

I would not add "skilled at practical self defense against multiple attackers with nothing to lose" to my resume. I was in that situation when I was 18, and 75 lbs lighter, and I wouldn't want to play that game again. I have "good" health insurance, but it's not worth $700 to get a new set of teeth, and I also have homeowners, auto, and phone insurance. At that point, I'd let 'em have it. Hell, I might show them how to use it.

My bigger question is if this was common "step 1" to stealing a smartphone. The person was able to display a (cheap) phone and state that their battery was dead. But, if I had my phone die, I couldn't call anyone because I don't know any phone numbers!

I came to the conclusion that future protocol would be to ask if it was an "emergency" and offer to dial 911 for them MYSELF while they waited. Otherwise, no, you're not using my phone.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718979)

That's when you hand them a quarter to use the payphone. Unless payphones have disappeared from the US as well.

This way if they really are in need, then you're helping them, and if they refuse and start to walk away that's when you might want to mention it to whatever security is around.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718293)

I used to get random schmoes on the street asking to use my phone as I pulled it out to check the time. Now I have a wristwatch and the worst I've gotten is, "Hey buddy, got the time?"

That line, "got the time", is the exact line a mugger used on me once to determine if I had a watch, before he attempted to mug me for it.

Re:BEWARE !! THE SMARTPHONE BANDIT STRIKES AT WILL (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718295)

Steve Jobs would approve (of the cutting out the liver part). I'm sure you are obliged by the itunes EULA to hand it over to steve immediately.

No comments? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718073)

What, everyone got their smartphone robbed?

Never had that experience... (4, Funny)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718089)

Most folks take one look at my crappy company-issued Blackberry Curve, and go look for better pickings (figuring that anyone still carryiong one of these probably doesn't have any money either).

I guess even criminals have more self-respect these days than to be seen trying to fence a entry-level crackberry.

Re:Never had that experience... (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718533)

Quick patent the idea. Sell faux blackberry gel covers for iPhone! Imagine the number of people who would buy to fool the would be muggers!

Re:Never had that experience... (1)

bigdavex (155746) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718935)

I'm sure many people like them, but a big reason for an iPhone is status symbol, so include faux iPhone gel covers for trac phones.

Re:Never had that experience... (5, Funny)

schnell (163007) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718619)

I left my BlackBerry on the dashboard of my car the other day. Some bastard broke into the car and left three more BlackBerries there.

Re:Never had that experience... (1)

hodet (620484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718623)

Yup I have the crappy company issue Torch. Feel quite safe walking alone.

Re:Never had that experience... (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718989)

This is where the thick clunkiness of the N900 has a similar advantage. Too old school for most.

Would you like Air Jordans with that? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718091)

Just as there will be a Tickle Me Elmo every at Christmas, until folks stop taking things that don't belong to them, there will be a theft item du jour.

Bricked by Company? (2)

ethicalcannibal (1632871) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718109)

Why can't the cell phone company just brick your phone? I have an iPhone, and it can brick if I jailbreak wrong, so why can't I just call the carrier, tell them it's stolen, and have it bricked. Or like someone else said, never have that phone allowed to register again? Don't they do that over in Europe.

Re:Bricked by Company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718143)

Because they make money off you having to buy a new phone.

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718183)

And they make money when the person who stole the phone opens an account. Or, more likely, the phone will change hands 2 or 3 times before someone tries to activate it.

"I bought this phone on ebay!" (Probably true.)

What's the company going to do? Launch an investigation? Fat chance. Do you think Barney Fife is going to fly in from Mayberry to investigate? Fat chance.

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718159)

They can and will very soon. All major US carriers are implementing this.

Re:Bricked by Company? (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718173)

It is completely ineffective in Europe. Those anti-theft applications sometimes work though, taking pics of the criminals. Most of the time the police cannot help though, because the law in Denmark at least does not allow the police to search an entire apartment block. GPS is not accurate enough to show which apartment the phone is in.

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718995)

It is completely ineffective in Europe. Those anti-theft applications sometimes work though, taking pics of the criminals. Most of the time the police cannot help though, because the law in Denmark at least does not allow the police to search an entire apartment block. GPS is not accurate enough to show which apartment the phone is in.

Will the newer location services help?

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

edmudama (155475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718325)

If they did that, they couldn't charge the thief for a new contract, and you for early termination.

Re:Bricked by Company? (5, Interesting)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718395)

This has been brought up before. In Europe it's common to do this and theft rates are down. Thieves don't bother stealing them because the phone will be worthless within a couple hours. In the USA however, carriers have realized that theft makes them money. Victims have to buy a new phone to replace the stolen one. Carriers have a financial disincentive to brick stolen phones or assist victims in any way. Hopefully the government will make the choice for the carriers and force them to brick stolen phones in order to curb the growing crime. It's an easy way for any politician to reduce crime and win points for reelection.

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718781)

It's not about winning points for reelection, it's about giving the perfect blowjob to their corporate masters. Teeth-scraping in the form of "forcing" corporations to do anything isn't going to help these politicians.

Re:Bricked by Company? (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#41719001)

They could, but this is the US you're talking about. Money reigns supreme in the land of the free. Lots of other countries don't provide the same freedom to be fucked over.

Better watch out in Chcago (-1, Flamebait)

redmid17 (1217076) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718149)

Here is't roving gangs of black, hispanic, or white kids looking for a quick payout.

/ it's not white kids

Re:Better watch out in Chcago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718177)

Chicago is turning into a black hole, a hell where it's open season on white people.

Re:Better watch out in Chcago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718201)

Someone who knows redmid should probably let him know that his android was stolen - by a product of the Chicago Public School system.

A sad state of affairs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718179)

Mugging for a cell phone, I can imagine what will happen when it gets to a bottle of water and a load of bread.

Re:A sad state of affairs (2)

Revotron (1115029) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718279)

Simple, I'll carry around a loaf of cyanide-laced bread and an unmarked beaker of H2SO4.

Some stupid mugger stole my drink, but now he robs no more.
For what he thought was H2O, was H2SO4!

Re:A sad state of affairs (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#41719019)

??? This isn't a $2 item we're talking about. Some phones almost qualify for grand theft.

Thieves don't care about serial numbers (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718181)

Most thieves simply use the phone until it gets disconnected, then throw it away and steal another one. Others sell them used on Ebay and Craigslist - once they get your money, they don't really care that you can't get service with it. The FCC is considering requiring the carriers to brick phones that are reported stolen, but that doesn't stop any of the above from happening. Smart thieves are stealing your personal data off your phone and re-selling that for a few extra bucks, or selling batches of them to foreign countries.

Re:Thieves don't care about serial numbers (2)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718411)

I can't imagine that anyone would steal a phone that's only going to be good for a couple hours, which is about as long as they'll be active for if the FCC passes those regulations.

Re:Thieves don't care about serial numbers (1)

santax (1541065) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718889)

Smart criminals aren't in the business of stealing phones. Drug-addicts with no money however are. Personally I rather get robbed by the smart ones. That way I sort of know if I hand my bankcard and pin-number I won't end up dead. With the junks you never know.

Is it just too obvious to say... (1)

DoctorBonzo (2646833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718309)

that if you don't have a phone, no one can rob you for it.

Re:Is it just too obvious to say... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718463)

And you are much more likely to have other bad things happen to you while you are broke down on some back road wandering around for help.

Re:Is it just too obvious to say... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718823)

God, how did humanity survive before the cell phone!

Re:Is it just too obvious to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718479)

Yes. That's of roughly the order of asserting that a rape victim was "asking for it." What I do or do not choose to carry on my person isn't the issue here.

Re:Is it just too obvious to say... (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718755)

that if you don't have a phone, no one can rob you for it.

Or they kick the shit out of you, or kill you because you must be lying to them. Everyone has a phone these days. Crack heads aren't known for their negotiation skills.

Barcelona (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718317)

Had mine yanked out while walking down the Gothic quarter staring at a map. Shitty way to end VMworld 2012, I tell ya. Will migrate to Hyper-V I guess.

Dumb phone for dumb criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718363)

My wife had her dumb phone stolen at work by a dumb criminal. It wasn't a big deal to report it stolen. It was inconvenient getting replaced with another dumb phone. At this point, neither one of us wants a smartphone.

Cat got your tongue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718373)

Robbery of a smart phone is the least of my worries. I've seen people that got some bullets or knife injuries for a smart phone, and some were killed for a shinny iPhone. And really NONE kind of phone is worth my life in exchange. I use a dumb nokia phone that only call and SMS, the smart phone never leave the house.

Re:Cat got your tongue? (1)

Holi (250190) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718449)

Wait you have a smart phone that you keep at home, why the hell did you bother to get it then?

US won't do IMEI blacklists (4, Informative)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718445)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Mobile_Equipment_Identity#Blacklist_of_stolen_devices [wikipedia.org]

Hey, how about that. An existing solution. It's not perfect, but it'd make it a bit harder than just throwing the iPhone on craigslist - especially since they'd have to modify the sticker on the phone as well, and if they didn't, it'd be proof the phone was stolen.

Let's not forget that the reason these people steal phones is because there's a market - plenty of other people happy to get a phone cheap off craigslist.

Simple...just buy an Android phone... (4, Funny)

Karlt1 (231423) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718517)

Oh well, I have karma to burn.....

http://www.theiphonespot.net/muggers-dont-want-android-tend-to-go-for-iphone-owners/ [theiphonespot.net]

"A pair of would-be robbers targeting Columbia students in upper Manhattan seem to be rather picky as they prowl. Twice at 526 114th St., and once at 556 114th St., the suspects demanded the victims hand over their iPhones, police said. The first victim complied, but the second only had a Droid, according to police. The thieves apparently didn't want a Droid â" so they took cash instead."

I carry a police baton in my pocket (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718545)

Go ahead, motherfucker, try to steal my phone.

It will be the last thing you ever do in your worthless life.

The only good mugger is a dead mugger.

Of course, most of them are worthless niggers, so when you
kill one it means one less piece of shit sucking on welfare.

Re:I carry a police baton in my pocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718849)

Right on !

The more heads that get cracked, the fewer muggings.

Of course most of the fudge packers who hang out on this site are not
man enough to defend themselves.

IMEI based locking rather than blacklists (2)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718575)

Seems to me that IMEI blackilisting after a theft is one thing, but why not allow people to pre-emptively opt in to locking their IMEI so that it can't be used with another account without some additional authentication (a it like registrar locking for domains)?

Obviously not everyone would want it (ie people who switch sims etc) but for a lot of people it would make sense as a default.

Re:IMEI based locking rather than blacklists (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718905)

Why not just install Micro Explosive Devices (MED's) in each phone. Some bastard steals your phone, you use your keybob to blow his head, hand or other weapon off.

Re:IMEI based locking rather than blacklists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41719051)

My Nokia N9 comes default with a 3rd-party application called Track and Protect. http://trackandprotect.com. This company provides the service you have described, and I have registered my phone with them at no cost to me so far.

As I understand, should my phone get stolen, I can login to their website and buy as many credits as I want, to do things like snap photos, record audio/GPS, send messages, or wipe the phone remotely. Seems like a good deal, although thankfully beyond registration, I have had no reason to use their service.

apples stance (2)

arekin (2605525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718585)

While the IMEI may help track down the theft of an iPhone, the serial number doesn't. Apple's policy is that they support the product not the user, and that theft of property is a police matter.

Re:apples stance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718691)

Apple's position here is unconscionable, and they should be forced to block iPhones with a police report.

Outrageous Pricing/Profit Big Part of the Problem? (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718669)

Opportunity Makes the Thief [skywallnet.com] : By the saturation stage, most people who really want the product have it, and thefts decline. For example, video cassette and CD players are now so common that they cost relatively little and offer few rewards to the thief; hand calculators sell for a few dollars and are mostly safe on your desk with the door open.

Yonder 'n FL (1, Offtopic)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718689)

Here in south-western Florida, it seems purloined phones aren't too popular among thugs. Two friends who were mugged on the same street on separate occasions both still had their phones after they'd been beaten lightly (I love that string). They both lost their wallets and one lost his bike, but not their phones. Others have lost their lives, but I don't know about their phones. This is, after all, the place where two British tourists were killed for no apparent reason. [telegraph.co.uk]

Perhaps it's time to begin integrating some serious self-defense attributes into these otherwise worthless "smart"phones. Yes, I despise smartphones. But I may consider one if it were mounted to a solid stick, or if it shot lightning and pepper-spray.

What else is new? (4, Funny)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718705)

In all seriousness, I read this headline initially as a story about phones inspiring ever-increasing amounts of smirky posing.

At least it's not in black and white... (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718829)

Much like the submitter whoever would mug me for my phone would be VERY disappointed.

"Well...at least it has Texas Hold 'Em..."

News Flash! (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718847)

When you wave an expensive item around, you attract attention....

Also it is Apples fault for allowing Stolen iphones to continue to operate. If you were able to go home and log into your apple account and set the phone to "STOLEN" so the phone only shows on the screen "STOLEN PROPERTY, CALL XXX-XXX-XXXX to return it" the street value of them would drop to $0.00

But apple chooses to not let this ability that would be trivial to put in place to exist.

Welcome to Barak Obama's America (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41718943)

These people are out of control! They feel empowered just to take things from others. Nobody wants to work for anything anymore
Welcome to Barak Obama's America [shinybadge.com]

It's not robbed of, but robbed with (1)

Pirulo (621010) | about a year and a half ago | (#41718945)

My carrier robs me every month _with_ my smartphone. Not that any other carrier wouldn't.
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