If your phone was stolen, there isn’t much you can do about it in India. The story is usually that you go to the cops, lodge a complaint and they ask you for the bills and unique numbers for the mobile phone. Everybody forgets about it, except you.
Ever wonder if you could do something about this? Register your new phone or stolen phone on MyCellWasStolen, an online database of mobile phones and stand a chance to get it back. Or at least avenge the theft by doing your bit to end the racket!
Here’s how it works: Once you register your phone, it tracks the mobile so that it becomes difficult for the thief to sell the phone. Under normal circumstances, a stolen cellphone is repackaged and sold to an unsuspecting buyer. But imagine if buyers could check if the phone was stolen before buying? The database makes it possible by telling the buyer if its a stolen device or not.
The database is also shared with carriers, who can block calls from stolen phones. Local crime authorities also have access to the data so they can raid shops that sell stolen goods. You could also register a new cell phone on the site, so it can be tracked in the event of theft.
The service was built by Vikas Hazrati, the CTO & Founder of Knoldus Software and his team.
Such a database is of no use unless a large number of people start using it. Morever, the altruistic nature of a buyer can be trusted enough for him to go and check on the site every time he or she buys a device. Second hand phone buyers can be shady too.
The database will gain a lot of credibility if it was maintained by a law enforcement agency directly in collaboration with carriers and consumers. A nationwide database could be the perfect solution for them to curb phone theft. However, this could also throw up interesting questions on privacy and cell phone based tracking.
MyCellWasStolen is not the only database that provides such a service. Websites like missingphones.org, that of the Indore Police department and a few others do the same. The Indian government is also thinking of creating such a database for which it has talked to various companies.
If you are on Android, you could install the Android device manager. Its very useful if your phone gets stolen. You can make it ring remotely, setup a phone lock and erase the data in case it gets stolen.