Stolen phones

How to “welcome” a phone thief

In Italy, there is a phrase called fare la festa, which means to welcome someone with a party. If your phone happens to be stolen or lost, you can be sure to “welcome” your thief by totally disabling your mobile phone services.

All mobile phones have a unique identification number called the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) code. This belongs to the handset and is associated with the SIM (Subscriber Identification Module) card, which holds the telephone number assigned to a customer. Access to the SIM card can be protected by personalising the card with a 4 digit PIN number.

The IMEI number provides protection if a phone is lost or stolen. The IMEI code is clearly shown on the paperwork at time of purchase. Make a note of it and keep it separate from the mobile in case the phone is lost or stolen. If the purchase paperwork is not available, it is possible to find the IMEI number by entering: *#06# on the keypad.

The loss (smarrimento) or theft (furto) of a mobile cell phone should be reported to the service provider immediately. They will need the IMEI number or details of the SIM card. The service will be suspended and the telephone blocked making it impossible for anyone else to use it, and the phone may be traced. The owner is responsible for payment of any calls made until the SIM is blocked unless they have taken out insurance with the supplier.

If the phone is stolen, a report can also be filed at the nearest police station. The police must be supplied with the IMEI number. Drawing up a report to the police won't guarantee the recovery of your mobile phone, but it makes it impossible for the thief to use your mobile phone. If he tries to use it, he ends up playing the fool for trying to steal it.


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