Stolen Phone- Apple & AT&T don't protect customers

Discussion in 'iPhone Tips, Help and Troubleshooting' started by mattcornell, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. mattcornell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    #1
    So, my iPhone was stolen last night. I called both AT&T and Apple, and I was told that although the serial number is transmitted via iTunes when activating a new account, there is no way for either company to use this serial number to actually block the registration of a new account on a stolen phone.

    Tech support at Apple claims that they're working on greater security measures to prevent thieves from activating stolen phones in the future. Basically, I don't buy it. I have no doubt that their systems have the functionality now to flag those serial numbers that have been reported lost or stolen. But they lack any real incentive, short of class action lawsuit, to change the status quo.

    Here's why: when your iPhone is stolen, Apple makes another $400 sale (you gotta get a new phone, right?) and AT&T gets a new contract from the thief. What a way to double sales AND screw your customers. And since they offer no insurance for theft or loss on the iPhone, you're basically carrying $400 cash in your pocket.

    If anyone thinks my understanding of this situation is wrong, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #2
    Can't they block the IMEI number like every other phone?
     
  3. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a

    polishmacuser

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    #3
    sadly they cannot block the imei or thats what i heard when i got my iphone stolen and this sucks a 400 dollar phone and no way to protect it from being stolen it sucks, the only thing u can do is put a password on it. eh i got my phone stolen before my bday how great is that :mad:
     
  4. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a

    polishmacuser

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    #5
  5. dejo Moderator

    dejo

    Staff Member

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    #6
    They are working on better security as they announced at the iPhone SDK Event, including "enforced security policies" and remote wipe. What's not to buy?

    iPhone Enterprise Features: ActiveSync, Exchange, WPA2, Push Services
     
  6. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2008
    #7
    What I don't buy is that they can't flag a serial number NOW. I've talked to a half dozen folks now from both AT&T and Apple. I haven't heard any convincing reason why they can't do this. Even in the case of the iPod, Dateline NBC proved that it was possible to recover stolen iPods. Apple declined to participate in the story.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20078671/
     
  7. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #8
    Really :eek:. That stinks of ******** to me, its pretty shocking.
     
  8. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

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    Canada EH!!!
    #9
    I saw that episode. The only way that they were able to catch the thieves was if the thief used an install/registration disk that they planted with the iPod. The iPods appeared to be new, still in the box and left laying somewhere. When the thief brought it home they used a fake install disk that MSNBC put in the box. When they clicked on I Agree button in the software, the personal information they entered was sent to MSNBC. Of course, most of the iPods they left laying around were never registered. However, a few really smart thieves used the CD and MSNBC found them. LOL

    Cheers.
     
  9. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a

    polishmacuser

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    Los Angeles
    #10
    basically we have to see if the sdk might help us out in this matter beacuse seriously these phones are to valuable, and need to be protected by theft, and its not fair that we got one and some bastard cant afford on so he goes steels ours:mad:
     
  10. hexonxonx macrumors 601

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    Denver Colorado
    #11
    Remote wipe will only work if you are using Exchange Server. The average everyday non corporate iPhone user will not use this so it will not be enabled on their iPhone.
     
  11. nevesis macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2007
    #12
    Thats the wrong part about your statement. Unless you were heldup at gunpoint, there is no good reason your phone should have been stolen other then you not being completely careful.

    Don't blame Apple or AT&T, sounds like its YOUR fault.
     
  12. senorFunkyPants macrumors 6502

    senorFunkyPants

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    #13
    Blocking access of phones to the network by IMEI number is not difficult the networks simply have to spend a few $s and set it up.
     
  13. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #14
    I did some quick searching in the AT&T forum over at howardforums.com (which is like the MacRumors for wireless phone fans) and it appears that AT&T doesn't block IMEIs, regardless of the cost of the phone or if you had insurance or not.

    Also FWIW, if you jailbreak an iPhone, it's apparently trivial to change the iPhones IMEI. People do that to make their iPhone look like a Razr or whatever so they can drop the iPhone data plan and not have AT&Ts backend system automatically add it back on.
     
  14. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2008
    #15
    No guns involved. Ever heard of pickpockets? Anyways, blaming the victim of any crime is a pretty lame response. Nevesis, if you're "completely careful" all the time, I toast to you. Invite me to your underground bunker someday and we'll eat some of your rations while we discuss gold bullion futures. (That is, if you can talk through the surgical mask.)

    As it happens, this story has a happy ending. The thief, after ignoring dozens of phone calls and texts, finally called me and offered me the phone back without strings. Maybe he had a pang of conscience. Or maybe he got worried that he wouldn't be able to use the thing. If so, he didn't know what I know-- that it's easy to unlock an iPhone and set up service with another provider. Ain't nobody gonna stop him. The bottom line is that he decided he'd rather not screw over a stranger just because that person was not being "completely careful."

    I bought the underachieving thief a round of drinks to show my gratitude and decided to insure my phone for theft through State Farm...

    http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:6657

    In short, sometimes people do the right thing. But Apple and At&T could be doing a lot more to protect their customers. What is the point of having IMEI numbers and Serial numbers otherwise?
     
  15. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2008
    #16
    Oh, nevermind. I now see that Apple's feeble customer protections have dovetailed rather nicely with your slippery ethics...

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=418713

    Shoulda just sent me the link and saved me the trouble of responding to your thieving ass.
     
  16. lofight macrumors 68000

    lofight

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    #17
    Every cellphone is the same.. You just have to look out, and see that your stuff doesn't get stolen.. This is surely not apple's fault..
     
  17. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2008
    #18
    Surely, every cellphone doesn't cost between $400 and $600. And those in the upper price range almost always offer insurance plans that cover loss or theft. The iPhone is 3x to 4x more expensive than most phones and is not offered with any such coverage. This makes it different from other phones. Would you at least concede those points?

    And what exactly do you mean that every cellphone is the same? Doesn't an iPhone actually transmit its Serial number when it's registered through iTunes? Doesn't that make it different/more trackable than other cellphones?

    I'm asking a real question here, and the usual Hobbesian "keep an eye on your stuff" response isn't going to get us anywhere.
     
  18. lofight macrumors 68000

    lofight

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    #19
    But you have to pay for the insurance plans right? And all the phones that are between 400 and 600$ that have insurance plans, aren't they all businnes?
     
  19. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2008
    #20
    Yes. But $30 a year through State Farm sounds like a good deal to me. Too bad Apple and AT&T don't want to directly offer this kind of coverage.

    Any thoughts on the other questions I asked regarding the IMEI and Serial numbers? Surely these companies could be doing more to make it less easy to activate a stolen iPhone.
     
  20. Hawkeye411 macrumors 68000

    Hawkeye411

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    Location:
    Canada EH!!!
    #21
    Stolen Wallet- Billabong doesn't protect customers

    So, my wallet, with $400 in it, was stolen last night. I called Billabong and I was told that there was no way for them to block the thief from inserting their own cash and credit cards and using my wallet!!

    Billabong customer service claims that they are working on greater security measures to prevent thieves from using stolen wallets in the future. Basically, I don't buy it. I have no doubt that they have some system that will flag wallets that are reported lost or stolen. But they lack real incentive, short of a lawsuit, to change the status quo.

    Here's why: when you wallet is stolen, Billabong makes another $50 sale (you gotta get a new wallet, right?) and Billabong gets a new customer, the thief. What a way to double sales AND screw your customers. And since they offer no insurance for theft or loss on the wallet, you're basically carrying around $400 cash in your pocket.

    If anyone thinks my understanding of this situation is wrong, please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Darren.
     
  21. lofight macrumors 68000

    lofight

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    #22
    I like your kind of humour.. :D
     
  22. nevesis macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2007
    #23
    Game set match.

    Haha!

    mattcornell...your thread has officially turned into an epic fail

    Be sure to keep your hands in your pockets from now on to prevent all the nifty "pick pocketers" from grabbing your precious goods!

    Either that or wear emo jeans, problem solved. :p
     
  23. Eric Lewis macrumors 68020

    Eric Lewis

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Location:
    CANADA? eh?
    #24
    the phone is clearly going to be unlocked and sold somewhere

    take a look on craigslist and ebay etc
     
  24. mattcornell thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    #25
    So, in case anyone missed it....the culprit changed his mind and returned my phone. It seems that not everyone subscribes to Nevesis' adolescent "finders keepers" credo. (By the way, his epic "I found an iPhone on the subway" thread is a priceless read.)

    And the wallet analogy was kinda funny. Except that the iPhone is roughly $550 more expensive. And wallets don't have serial numbers or IMEI numbers.

    Anyways, moral of the story is to insure your iPhone through State Farm, until Apple or AT&T offer more protections.

    Oh yeah, and keep an eye on your stuff, dummy. (I got that message loud and clear, folks. Thanks for the slap.)
     

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