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New York Takes Another Step to Curb Phone Theft

Article Comments  9  

Oct 18, 2013, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

New York State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein plans to introduce a bill today that would require businesses to obtain proof of ownership before buying used cell phones. According to the New York Times, flea markets, laundromats, and neighborhood stores often resell mobile devices that have been stolen. The law would make it illegal for any businesses in the state to sell devices unless they can prove they were legally obtained from the original owner through documented receipts. "The goal of this legislation is to scare black market retailers out of this terrible business," said Klein. "If you're a retailer making a few extra bucks by selling stolen phones, you're now going to think twice before you open up your wallet and pay one of these criminals." Klein's law does not apply to individuals. Phone theft has increased in recent years despite lawmakers' attempts to halt it. U.S. carriers created a database of stolen phone IDs that should prevent the devices from being usable on mobile networks, but law enforcement says the database has proven ineffective.



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Oct 18, 2013, 8:54 AM

Why Limit To Phones?

What's so special about phones when compared to other stolen merchandise? In fact, it's easier to disable a stolen phone than a stolen television.
This is just another case of dumb politicians wanting a good sound bite. Who still has their receipt from the phone they bought 2 or 3 years ago? I agree if that is the law it should be for all items bought used for resale.

Oct 18, 2013, 6:04 PM

Its not always the business at fault

This won't work. They will find someone to buy them, unfortunately. Many times phones are sold by the original owner and then the owner files a fraudulant insurance claim or fails to pay or honor their cell phone contract. Both of these make that phone unusable by being reported lost or stolen and blacklisted. The customer has gotten top dollar for a useless phone and then pays their $50-$150 deductible and gets a new phone and has extra cash to spend. Those people need to be held responsible as well! I even contacted Asurion (cell phone insurance provider) and they pretty much said they don't have time to check for insurance fraud.
But if the business has a copy of the reciept they looked at then they can't be at fault.

Oct 18, 2013, 1:23 PM

Stupid, stupid, stupid

While the bill's sponsor may have good intentions, this is an incredibly stupid idea. First, how is someone supposed to prove they're the legitimate owner of a phone? Show a receipt? Does anyone keep the receipt for their phone? Of course they don't.

Second, this won't deter anything. Unscrupulous businesses that still want to sell phones will simply do it out of the back room, and criminals will just sell the phones on the street or to a business that doesn't care about getting some kind of proof. Or middlemen will emerge who buy up stolen phones and ship them to a state with no such requirements.
It's also redundant because it is already illegal to buy stolen property.

Oct 18, 2013, 1:45 PM

A crook will just sell it to a crackhead on the street

Anything for a buck
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