Networks looking at system to check if you’re buying a stolen phone in South Africa

Mobile operators in South Africa are looking at building a system which will let you check if a cellphone is blacklisted, Cell C told MyBroadband. In the US, the trade group representing the wireless industry (CTIA) recently launched such a tool. Called Stolen Phone Checker[1], the service works by looking up a device’s IMEI, MEID, and ESN.

The Verge reported[2] that third-party tools offering a similar service have been available for awhile, and the big carriers also offer their own checkers. “This functionality is not yet available in South Africa,” said Cell C, but networks are investigating offering a similar solution.

Cell C – Blacklist your stolen phone

While the system is investigated, Cell C said customers can report their devices as stolen at Cell C stores or by calling its contact centre (084 140). “The stolen device will then be blacklisted on our network,” said Cell C.

“The mobile network operators in South Africa share the blacklisted files to ensure stolen handsets that have been reported are blacklisted on all of the networks in SA.” Once a device is blacklisted, it will unusable on any of the local networks, said Cell C.

Telkom – How operators share info on stolen phones

“In South Africa, when a device is stolen, the customer ought to report the crime to their mobile network provider,” said Telkom. “South African mobile networks use the TransUnion database to verify whether or not a device has been listed as stolen and shows the network responsible for the listing.”

“All networks have access to this tool and subscribers may contact a network for more information regarding the listing of a device.”

If you would like to query a blacklisted handset, you will need to contact the mobile provider which listed it.

MTN, Vodacom – No Comment

South Africa’s largest and second-largest operators did not respond to questions on how they handle stolen phones.

Now read: These 5 tips will keep your smartphone safe if it is stolen[3]

References

  1. ^ Stolen Phone Checker (stolenphonechecker.org)
  2. ^ The Verge reported (www.theverge.com)
  3. ^ These 5 tips will keep your smartphone safe if it is stolen (mybroadband.co.za)

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