Wireless networks have launched a Carfax-like database to help consumers identify lost or stolen smartphones.
CTIA, the wireless industry association, said there is a new website, www.stolenphonechecker.org, where they can find out whether a used or refurbished phone has a clear title, as it were, or has been reported lost or stolen.
“The launch of the Stolen Phone Checker represents another key initiative in the U.S. wireless industry’s commitment to safeguarding American consumers,” said CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker. "[W]e hope consumers will empower themselves by using the new website before buying a used phone.”
Consumers and businesses can enter a device ID into the website and if it is lost or stolen the window will come up red and warn that the device may be unusable.
“Empowering consumers to ensure their refurbished cell phones aren’t stolen is a win-win. I applaud CTIA for its work on this issue and hope to do what we can at the FCC to raise awareness of this tool, which can provide peace of mind to consumers and decrease the incentive to steal mobile phones,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. “This is another area where consumers, industry, and the FCC are all pulling in the same direction and getting results.”
“I thank CTIA and the wireless industry for creating a database search capability (StolenPhoneChecker.org) to help eliminate wireless device theft and prevent consumers from being duped into buying stolen used devices," said FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. "This is an example of the private sector addressing a need in a thoughtful and effective way.”