Scheme to counter mobile theft relaunched

by PYB James | Jun 01, 2010

Nowadays, mobile phones are ubiquitous. It is estimated that there are 62.5 million handsets in the UK between 40 million people, which means that on average there are 1.8 mobile phones per person. It is little wonder that they are a target for thieves, and that a thriving black market for stolen mobile handsets exists.

Police across South Tyneside have resurrected a project which aimed to tackle the problem of mobile phone theft. Operation Cell Time was an initiative initially started in 2006, and targeted criminals who stole mobile phones. The scheme gave second hand mobile phone dealers who chose to sign up to the means to conduct identity checks on those customers who were selling their phones.

Following increasing figures of mobile thefts, the project has been re-launched.

Peter Sutton is the Neighbourhood Inspector for the area. He said:

"There has been an increase in the theft of mobile phones, with a number being taken from handbags left unattended in pubs and clubs.

"Because of this, we are re-launching Operation Cell Time.We will be visiting second-hand dealers to see if they are keeping their records up to date and correct, as well as raising awareness of the types of goods that are being stolen to make them more vigilant when items are being offered for sale."

Losing a handset can prove expensive to replace, but with more Smartphones on the market, identity theft is also on the increase.

Smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, allow you to store lots of information such as addresses, important phone numbers and photographs, and even allow you to use internet banking.

With more people using the internet via their phones, things such as viruses, trojans and phishing attacks are also on the increase, so it is important to have a back up plan. Most importantly, make sure that your mobile phone is insured. Whether you have an inexpensive handset or a Blackberry , there are plenty of cheap mobile phone insurance deals available. If you use your phone to browse the internet a lot, it is also worth purchasing a mobile phone anti-virus program, and there are some on the market that allow you to back up any contents on your phone such as photographs over the internet, so even if you lose your handset, you are able to retrieve them

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