Consumers have a new safety tool to report lost or stolen cell phones or to look-up suspicious pre-owned devices.

On Sept. 30, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and its wireless carrier members launched a national blacklist of wireless devices to assist law enforcement agencies with their efforts to combat the theft of wireless devices.

The CWTA notes that the authorization of any GSM, HSPA, HSPA+ or LTE wireless device on any participating Canadian carrier's network will include verification that the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the device has not been reported as lost or stolen on that network or any other participating Canadian network. The blacklist will also report lost/stolen devices from US carriers that are connected to the GSMA IMEI Database.

"Canadians are among the world's fastest adopters and heaviest users of sophisticated smartphones," said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. "Not only will this national blacklist help to make their smartphones a less valuable target for criminals, but the industry has also taken steps to help Canadian consumers identify if a pre-owned device has previously been reported as lost or stolen."

The ProtectYourData.ca website currently allows Canadian consumers to simply enter the IMEI number of a wireless device to find out immediately if it has been blacklisted. If so, the blacklisted device will not be able to be used on any participating Canadian network.

Mobile customers are encouraged to contact their wireless service provider to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to get it on the blacklist and have it deactivated. All thefts should be reported to the police as well.

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