The following instructions – from a post on FB – seem applicable to cell phones bought and in use in the USA. But some of the instructions (on IMEI and reserve battery power) likely work globally. The instructions on how to report theft raise a suggestion on how to deter theft worldwide.
4 Things you might not have known about your Cell Phone
(This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet.)
There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival.
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.
SECOND (Hidden Battery Power)
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.
THIRD (How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone)
To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following on your phone: *#06# . A 15-digit code [the so-called IMEI] will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.
If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.
[COMMENT: I believe the above works if the thief continues to use the phone on the SAME provider, or if all the telecoms keep a stolen IMEI database and agree to block. If the phone is, say, taken out of the US, the telecoms in that other country would have to be empowered to block the particular IMEI of a stolen phone. See below for a suggestion on how to deter theft.]
FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells)
When you need to use 411, dial (800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411. This free service is sponsored by McDonalds.
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SUGGESTION to cell phone manufacturers and service providers: A phone buyer could be given a default option for a service that blocks the use of the new cell phone using its IMEI. This requires voluntary registration by the new owner, and in turn he gets some kind of assurance that if his phone is stolen it cannot be used. How would the owner get such assurance? He can himself, at the point of purchase of the phone, register the phone and SIM, INCLUDING a password that he the owner supplies and can modify. He then is given access to a secure website where with the use of the password (including security Q and A), he can report the phone as stolen and have the phone blocked. It is up to the cell phone manufacturer to partner with telecoms worldwide so that telecoms can legally block such a registered IMEI. In effect, the cell phone owner himself authorizes the blocking of his own cell phone should he be dispossessed of it.