Associate Magazine-Jan/Mar 2021
STOPPING CELLPHONE THEFT Established over 10 years ago, ecoATM was the vision of Mark Bowles who had realized he had a drawer full of old cell phones. He wanted to do something positive with the idle devices rather than throwing them in the trash and ending up in a landfill, polluting the earth. As he developed the first prototype, he real- ized the importance of interacting with law enforcement as the business would be regulated as a “secondhand dealer” in most jurisdictions. A nother concern that potentially involved law enforcement is highlighted in an article written by Elaine Hom in Chan- nelPro Network . This is regarding the theft of cell phones as it relates to this article. A recent study released from Kensington https://www.channelpronetwork.com/article/ mobile-device-security-startling-statistics-data-loss-and-data- breaches reveals the costs associated with the loss or theft of mobile devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The data shows that the cost of the loss is far greater than the cost of the device itself, thanks to lost productivity, the loss of intellectual property, data breaches, and legal fees. Some startling statistics: • 70 million smartphones are lost each year, with only 7 percent recovered. • 4.3 percent of company-issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year. • 52 percent of devices are stolen from the office/workplace, and 24 percent from conferences.
These types of statistics highlight the need to be proac- tive and work with law enforcement to screen out any poten- tial stolen device ending up in the ecoATM kiosk. The company decided that they needed to connect with law enforcement using former law enforcement executives to explain the busi- ness and operations. It is important that the company proactively stop cellphone theft and assist law enforcement in any investigations. Most people would think that the focus is on property crimes, such as stealing a cell phone and attempting to sell it through a kiosk. What was not considered early on was how cellphones were being used in various other crimes such as terrorism, homicides, child pornography, etc. ecoATM rapidly became the “go-to” place to assist law enforcement in many major investigations that made local or even international news. Many times, ecoATM would not be mentioned publicly but law enforcement knew who could assist them. This was also done at no cost, no requirement for a sub- poena or warrant, and quickly! WHAT IS ECOATM & HOW DOES IT WORK? ecoATM kiosks are designed using patented technology and many layers of security screening for both the individual and the device. These kiosks are unmanned and located in safe secure locations inside businesses. The ecoATM team is located in San Diego, meaning that every transaction is reviewed in real time and has a person approving or disapproving it. 1. The screening process utilizes three high resolution cameras. This enables our team to capture the photograph of the seller from different angles along with their thumbprint if required by law. The kiosk captures photographs of the device being sold front and back. 2. There is also a QR sticker that must be attached to the rear of each device for the process to proceed. Similar to a property room inventory tracking system, the sticker has a code that identifies that item and it is retained on the item during the entire time it is in our possession. 3. The seller must insert a valid government identification card with a photo. That photo is compared to the seller by an Identification Verification Technician in real-time. The authenticity of the identification card is verified using AssureID technology. continued on page 29
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