Thu, 11 Mar 1999

Mobile phone snatching

Key in: *#06# (star grit 06 grit) to your mobile phone and see a 15 digit code appear. This is the special code to your very own cellular phone. Write it down and put it in a safe place, where you will find it again.

In case your mobile phone gets stolen, you should notify your mobile phone representative (Nokia, Siemens, etc.) and tell them to block that number, because it has been stolen.

I called Siemens customer service and asked about this safety procedure and was told:

Normally a mobile phone owner asks to change the pin-code, because he/she forgot the old one. In this case the owner has to prove that he/she really is the owner by proof of purchase. I said, 'Many people do not have that proof anymore or brought the phone abroad or got it as a present, what then?' The officer replied that other identification would be asked for, like ID cards or something similar.

So, basically any owner of a mobile phone can get the pin changed at the mobile phone brand representative office, if they present their ID. Also the owner of a stolen mobile phone -- there is no risk for them at this time. But, if the real owner of a stolen mobile phone takes the trouble to inform the representative office of their mobile phone-brand of the theft (giving their mobile phone-ID number, name and address) and asks to block the set, maybe it helps, since there is a report on the case. Theoretically only the representative office of a mobile phone brand can change that number and they should have a list of reported thefts -- as with the credit card list of stolen or bad cards that are not accepted for payments. However, we all know how smart the Mafia for stolen mobile phones is and maybe they can change the codes without help of the brand owner. Even if that were the case, at least we should try.

You might get your phone back, but certainly the thief will not be able to use it either, even with a new card. We all should do this. Once word gets around among the mobile phone thieves that the phones cannot be used any more, they will stop their practice of stealing them and maybe a way can be found to return them to their owners? Let others think about that and tell us...