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AT&T to begin Blocking Stolen Phones and Tablets from Service

It’s probably happened to you before: you’re out somewhere and you can’t find your phone. It’s either been stolen or you’ve lost it, and for now, there seems like no way to get it back.

That’s a scary place to be, because we often have very sensitive and personal data on our phones, and if that fell into the wrong hands, disastrous things could happen.

Now AT&T is taking is upon themselves and attempting to instill some sort of goodwill in their customers (believe me, they have a long way to go) by implementing a new program in which they will block reported stolen phones and tablets, beginning on July 10th. This means that if someone else tries to use your stolen device—whether for a text, phone call, email over the network, etc.—service will immediately be suspended and they’ll be left with a pretty useless device.

While this is an excellent move on AT&T’s part, it doesn’t complete absolve you from taking care of other things with your device once stolen, such as remote wiping it so the data can’t be accessed. And while this won’t be a total detriment to thieves taking our devices, it should discourage it a little bit, as the phone will virtually be useless to them once we’ve notified AT&T.

It’s worth noting that all major US carriers—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile—teamed up with the FCC in April and agreed to deny service to anyone using a stolen phone or tablet. This means that we should be seeing a similar program with the other carriers in the near future, as each one is building a database of stolen phones for a national registry.

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