Below are statements to NBC News from Sprint and T-Mobile in response to a Rossen Reports investigation of cell phone thefts. Verizon Wireless and AT&T declined to comment; further details of their responses are below.
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“Sprint works aggressively with law enforcement agencies to deactivate lost or stolen phones, as well as their efforts to deter cell phone thefts. When a Sprint cell phone is reported lost or stolen, Sprint takes the following steps:
• Check the account for fraudulent or unusual use;
• Place a lost or stolen restriction on the customer’s account, which blocks all voice, test and data use;
• Place a restriction on the phone’s use until the customer contacts Sprint and makes customer care aware that the device has been located, a replacement device has been activated or they wish to discontinue service for that account; and
• If the lost or stolen device is replaced or the service is discontinued, the device’s ESN or IMEI code is placed on Sprint’s lost/stolen file database which prevents it from being reactivated on Sprint’s network.
Additionally, here is a statement regarding Sprint’s position on creating a national database of stolen cell phones:
Sprint is always willing to cooperate and work with law enforcement officials on situations regarding cell phone theft. It’s an issue that Sprint takes very seriously and applies great steps to mitigate for every customer. The creation of a national database or listing of stolen cell phones is a discussion Sprint is open to participating in and we look forward to further conversations where clear and objective options are brought to the table.”
“For specifics on the blacklist proposal, please refer to the CTIA. With T-Mobile, we recommend that the most important action a customer can take if a phone is lost or stolen is to notify your carrier immediately. This will prevent any third-party charges from accruing. In addition, T-Mobile recommends the following tips to prevent unauthorized use of a lost or stolen device:
1. Lock your handset with a pass code.
2. Utilize a mobile security application. A number of applications, including one offered by T-Mobile, allow customers to locate and/or wipe a lost or stolen cell phone.
3. Consider subscribing to a handset insurance program. In the event that a handset is lost or stolen, replacement can be made at a much lower cost.
4. Contact T-Mobile Customer Care immediately in the event of any suspected loss: 1-800-937-8997. Or, if customers have access to another T-Mobile phone, simply dial 6-1-1.
5. If your phone is stolen, notify the police and keep a copy of the police report. This will assist you with any insurance or service claim.
Verizon Wireless declined to comment and referred the TODAY show to CTIA — The Wireless Association for questions regarding stolen cell phone blacklisting. The company referred the TODAY show to the company's website for frequently asked questions about its lost or stolen phone policy.
AT&T declined to comment and referred all questions to CTIA — The Wireless Association.
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