Stolen cellphone databases switched on in US

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According to, the introduction of this database means that carriers will be able to block stolen handsets from being used on their cellular networks.

Until now, such blocking had targeted the SIM card, so unauthorized calls could not be made on stolen phones, but putting in a new SIM card meant the phone could still be used.

That meant a stolen phone could be sold on the second-hand market.


How it works:

The new database blocks the IMEI number, a unique identification number in the cellphone akin to a VIN (vehicle identification number) in a car. The ID number remains with the cellphone no matter what SIM card is used.