06th Jun 2012
Now that it's not uncommon for a high-end mobile phone to carry a price tag of over Rs 40,000, that makes it by far the most expensive item carried on your person. That is, unless you happen to be Bappida. Unfortunately for most smartphone enthusiasts, I'm not the only one who has taken a note of this trend. Enterprising criminals have come up with a new modus operandi to defraud unsuspecting people of their expensive phones.
The thieves target slow-moving cars at traffic signals, busy intersections, or traffic jams. In simple terms, any car that cannot drive away quickly. The con is initiated by a jaywalker deliberately colliding into your car and feigning an injury that would put professional footballers to shame. The natural reaction of the victim is to roll down the windows or step out of the car. That's when the perpetrator engages the target in a heated argument, while his accomplice steals the unattended smartphone lying on the dashboard.
A Violent Encounter
In the worst-case, there have been instances of assault as well, especially with thieves who worked solo. Sonit Malhan, a commercial diver from Bombay, was a victim of a recent assault that took place on the jam-packed stretch of the Dharavi Link Road. "As my car crept forward at single-digit speeds in a traffic jam, I saw a man bump into it and fall down in the most unconvincing manner", recalls Sonit of the day he lost his two-month-old iPhone 4.
However, his version takes a violent turn. "As soon as I rolled down the window to assess the situation, the man got up and tried to punch me through the opening. In the ensuing scuffle, he took off with my iPhone that lay on the adjoining seat", he adds.
Worryingly, such instances have been on the rise in the city over the past few months. What should you do to avoid being victimised by the marauding gangs of mobile robbers? For starters, keep your windows rolled up in slow moving traffic and the doors locked at all times. Never leave valuables such as smartphones, wallets, and jewellery lying around on the seats or the dashboard. The glove compartment or you pockets are safer places. If the situation escalates and you find yourself trapped, stay safely locked in the car and call the police.
Even if your phone is stolen, you can request the authorities to block the phone or even track it down, provided you've noted down the handset's unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. This is generally found on the cash receipt and near the phone's battery compartment. Once you file an FIR with the police regarding the theft, you can show a copy to your mobile service provider, who may then proceed to block or track down your phone.
TechTree Blog: Motorists, Beware! Your Expensive Smartphone Is The Latest Target Of Conmen
Thieves distract victim with a fake accident, meanwhile their phone is whisked away.
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