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AT&T Launches Website in Fight Against Cellphone Thieves

By Josh Long
May 04, 2012 - News

AT&T has launched a website to help protect customers' phones and safeguard information from thieves after the Federal Communications Commission announced initiatives to address the growing problem of cell-phone theft in America.

The website includes safety tips, warnings and contact information to report a lost or stolen phone among other things.

An alarming number of robberies today involve smartphones and other cell phones, prompting the FCC to do something about it.

The agency last month announced initiatives by U.S. wireless carriers – including the big four – to deter theft and secure customer data.

"In DC, New York and other major cities, roughly 40% of all robberies now involve cell phones – endangering both the physical safety of victims and the safety of the personal information on the stolen devices," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said April 10 in prepared remarks.

The agency said there have been numerous instances of robberies targeting cell phones that have resulted in serious injury or death.

The carrier initiatives include the implementation of a database to prevent the use of stolen smartphones, encouraging users to lock phones with passwords, enlightening users on how to locate, locate and wipe smartphones remotely, a public education campaign educating consumers on how to protect their smartphones and themselves from crime and quarterly updates submitted to the FCC on the progress of the initiatives.

"Within six months, when Americans call their participating wireless provider and report their wireless devices stolen, their provider will block that device from being used again," the FCC explained last month. "This system will be rolling out globally using common databases across carriers over the next 18 months."

Meanwhile, AT&T must defend itself against allegations that it aided and abetted criminals who stole phones. The company has responded that a lawsuit filed in California has no merit.

AT&T on Thursday launched the website to protect against theft, PCMag reported.

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