Losing my handphone is extremely stressful because I have 200+ contacts, I store all my future appointments/reminders in the electronic calender..... losing a handphone disrupts my life and lowers my productivity. The first thing you do when you lose it is to call up your service provider to cancel all premium services to prevent the person who finds the phone from using MMS, IDD and making 1900 calls. After that, you try to contact the person, first by SMSsing, then calling. If the person intends to steal your phone, he will turn it off after a few rings and you will never see it again. I guess the next thing that happens is the person will remove the SIM card and try to sell it off..... most probably to a 2nd hand dealer. I did a quick informal survey once among friends who have lost their handphones ......return rate is about 20%. 80% of the people who find handphones will steal it.
After I lost my handphone for the 3rd time, I decided I had to do something about it. I gave it alot of thought and realised that I was at the mercy of the honesty of the person who found the phone. How to make that dishonest person honest?.....
I found out that my Nokia phone is worth about $60 at the 2nd phone dealer so I stuck the above message onto the battery so that it would be seen if the person decided to remove the SIM card. It worked like a charm the next 2 times my phone was lost! The last time I lost my phone, I tried "acting blur" and "forgetting" the $80 by just thanking the person after he returned it, ...he asked point blank "Where is the $80 reward...?".
Every handphone has a unique number known as the Imei. This number is hardwired to the phone and remains even when the SIM card is replaced. There is a suggestion by a Mr. Peter Humphreys (see below) to disable the stolen phones based on the Imei. The idea is to make stolen phones worthless and 2nd handphone dealers more vigilant. It would remove the incentive for being dishonest. If they do that, I can reduce my reward to $20 ($10 for transport and $10 for being honest).
Integrity can be bought. By giving people incentive to be honest, they will be motivated behave honestly. The price of integrity falls if the system has various checks in place to reduce the gains from dishonety. How much you need to pay for integrity reflects the quality of the system and safeguards in place to prevent abuse. However, I'm not hopeful that our telcos will implement this because they have nothing to gain from it and they will incur some (very small?) cost to monitor blacklisted Imei.
Straits Times Forum 2 July 2007.
Telcos should disable stolen phones via Imei
MY FAMILY has just had its third mobile phone stolen in Singapore over the past three years. We know it was stolen rather than 'lost' as it was fully charged and on, yet when we called to see if someone had found it, it diverted to voice mail suggesting someone had removed the SIM card.
We then called our operator to stop the thief making calls, but this does not stop the thief inserting his own SIM card. The operator can disable the phone itself by stopping any calls based on the unique Imei number (which I record and can provide to the operator). So why don't operators stop phone theft by using this feature?