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Anniversary of Nationwide Blacklisting of Lost Phones

15 December 2014

First Anniversary of Nationwide Blacklisting of Lost and Stolen Phones

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) is celebrating the first anniversary of nationwide mobile handset blacklisting for lost and stolen devices, and Christmas is the perfect time to remind everyone of this service.

The three mobile operators (Spark, Vodafone and 2Degrees) have been working closely together to ensure that mobile devices reported lost or stolen are blocked across all the mobile networks. This significantly reduces the attractiveness of mobile phones to thieves.

If you are buying a phone this Christmas, either for yourself or as a present, you should check to make sure it hasn’t been reported lost or stolen before you buy, or you risk disappointment.

Blacklisting works by blocking your device’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number, or IMEI. You can find your IMEI either under the battery, on the original box, or by entering *#06# into the phone. Under the TCF’s Handset Blacklisting Code of Practice, which the mobile operators have all signed up to, once a device is blocked on one mobile network it is blocked on all networks nationwide. “And that means that thieves and ‘finders’ can’t profit from your misfortune” says TCF CEO Geoff Thorn.

Since nationwide blacklisting was launched last December, the three mobile operators have blocked over 32,000 devices which have been reported by customers as lost or stolen. The TCF expects that, over time, this service will help reduce the market for stolen mobile phones, and therefore reduce the instances of phone theft.

The TCF also reminds people that it’s important to check whether a device has been reported lost or stolen before you buy it. “Everyone loves a bargain, but ask for the IMEI number before you buy a second-hand device, particularly if you are buying it online” says Thorn. By entering the device’s IMEI number on the TCF’s site: www.MindYourMobile.co.nz you will see whether the device is currently on the blacklist or not. The site has proved very popular, with over 54,000 page views since the service was launched.

It’s important to remember that if you lose your device, report the loss to your service provider in order to have it blacklisted. If you do subsequently find it, the only way to remove the device from the blacklist is to have your service provider do that for you. The TCF recommends that you take note of your IMEI number whenever you get a new device and store it somewhere safe, just in case your device is lost or stolen in the future.

Top five tips for mobile users
• Only purchase new or second hand phones from trustworthy sources – such as registered mobile dealers. If you are buying second hand, always check the status of the handset on the TCF website first –www.mindyourmobile.co.nz
• You can obtain your 15 digit IMEI number by pressing *#06# on your mobile phone. Alternatively, the IMEI number should also be on a white label found underneath the battery of the device, or on the original box.
• If you lose your phone or you think it has been stolen, report this as soon as possible to your mobile provider. You cannot report lost or stolen devices through the TCF’s website.
• Be careful where you leave your phone – avoid café tables, bars, or having it hanging out of your pocket. You’d be surprised at how skilled thieves are at snatching these items!
• Put a pin, password or other form of security on your phone and set it to automatically lock, so that only you can access calling, texting and other applications. Install an application like Find My Phone, which will allow you to track the phone over WiFi if you lose it.

About the TCF
Established in 2002, the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) plays a vital role in the New Zealand telecommunications industry, collaboratively developing key industry standards and codes of practice that underpin the country’s digital economy. Our objective is to actively foster cooperation among the telecommunications industry’s participants, to enable the efficient provision of regulated and non-regulated telecommunications services. For more information visit: www.tcf.org.nz

TCF Members include: 2degrees, AWACS, CallPlus, Chorus, Compass Communications, Enable Networks, FX Networks, Kordia, Northpower Fibre, NOW, Orcon, SNAP, Telecom, TrustPower, Ultrafast Fibre, UnisonFibre, Vector Communications, Vodafone and Woosh. Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei are General Associate Members.

ENDS

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