Once lost or stolen, the chances of getting your phone back are rather slim

Lost your mobile phone? Was it stolen from your house? Did it slip out of your pocket while you were at the beach? Or did you accidentally leave it in an autorickshaw? The chances of getting your phone back are rather slim.

The police receive hundreds of complaints regarding lost or stolen mobile phones every year. Cyber Cell officials said they received at least two complaints every day requesting them to trace missing mobile phones. Only a fraction of these phones are ever recovered.

Mobile phones have an IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number that can be used to get information about the phone. When the Cyber Cell receives a complaint, they put in a request to nine service providers asking them to help track the phone. The service provider can usually track the phone if it has been switched on with a new SIM card of theirs. “Initially, we got a good response from the companies. But the volume of mobile phones and missing phones is too high these days and the companies don’t always cooperate. They say their servers crash while running a search,” said an official.

So where do all the lost mobile phones go? Police officers said most lost or stolen phones were sold outside the State, or even outside the country to avoid detection. “If new phones have been stolen from a shop, it’s almost certain that they will be taken to Nepal,” said an officer.

The neighbourhood scamster is back

All the public attention on multi-crore scams in Kerala has not daunted the resolve of small-time scamsters in Kochi. Conmen still find new ways every day to cheat gullible people. A city resident, from near the Government Girls’ High School, reported to the police that a man cheated his family of Rs.2,000.

A middle-aged man allegedly went to the complainant’s house claiming to be the son of the nearby ration shop owner. The mystery man told the family their ration card had to be renewed and that his father had sent him to collect their names and other details. He said a fee of Rs.1,900 had to be paid for renewing the card. The elderly lady of the house who answered the door gave him Rs.2,000 and asked for the change and a receipt for the amount. She was told by the scamster that he would return with the new ration card, the change, and the receipt later in the afternoon. The family never saw him again. They later enquired at houses in the neighbourhood to find that the same man had knocked on other doors too, but with less success. Not to mention that the ration shop owner didn’t have such a son.

The Central police have registered an FIR and are investigating the case.

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