Officials seek smartphone security

SIM card

Peoples’ smartphones have become their lifelines, containing vital information that if lost or stolen, increases the chances of identity theft.

But Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“This is an issue the general public needs to be aware of,” said Yancey. “The thefts of cellphones puts everyone at risk.”

Yancey is calling for a public hearing in the coming months to explore how the city can help citizens stay protected and avoid SIM card fraud at a time when smartphone thefts in places like MBTA trains and stations are an increasing issue.

“I want to make it more difficult for thieves to use personal information. We have to make sure we have adequate protections in place,” he said.

Earlier this month, Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan said “snatch and runs,” where a thief nabs a smartphone and takes off, are an ongoing issue.

T police  reported 259 larcenies, which includes stolen phones, in 2011.

Incoming call for safety
   
The problem: Yancey said identity theft is an issue that people don’t think about until after they become victims.  A stolen SIM card can allow the thief to access the owner’s passwords and charge calls on the owner’s account.
   
The purpose: The hearing before the City Neighborhood Services Committee will gather info from police and retailers about the risks involved when someone’s SIM card is lost or stolen.


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