Consumer groups push for ways to take profit out of cell phone theft

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Associated Press

Posted on October 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 20 at 10:03 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The theft of cell phones is on the rise across the country, and that includes armed robberies to get someone's phone. Police in San Francisco say nearly half of their robbery cases this year are cell phone-related, while New York City police say cell phones account for 40 percent of all robberies there.

The firm Lookout, which provides apps for mobile security, estimates that stolen and lost cell phones could cost American consumers more than $30 billion this year. In addition to reselling the hardware, cell phone thieves are getting access to bank accounts, credit cards and passcodes that are stored on Smart phones and other mobile devices.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, wireless carriers are expected to launch individual databases of stolen cell phones later this month to permanently disable a cell phone once a theft is reported. A national database is scheduled to launch next year.

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<<CUT *168 (10/20/12)>> 00:10 "of lost phones"

Alicia DiVittorio (uh-LEE'-see-yuh dee-vih-TOHR'-ee-oh), consumer safety advocate, Lookout, a mobile security firm

Alicia DiVittorio, with the mobile security firm LookOut, says a thief's ability to access passwords and financial data from stolen phones makes cell phone theft a lucrative crime.

<<CUT *169 (10/20/12)>> 00:12 "of lost phones"

Alicia DiVittorio (uh-LEE'-see-yuh dee-vih-TOHR'-ee-oh), consumer safety advocate, Lookout, a mobile security firm

Alicia DiVittorio, with the mobile security firm LookOut, says the best way to protect consumers after their phone is stolen is for cellular providers to agree to permanently disable the phone.

<<CUT *170 (10/20/12)>> 00:13 "it that way"

Alicia DiVittorio (uh-LEE'-see-yuh dee-vih-TOHR'-ee-oh)

Alicia DiVittorio, with the mobile security firm LookOut, says they have free security applications, and paid services, that help protect consumers from identity theft from cell phone theft.

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