Viral Email Debunked: 5 Things to Know About Your Cell Phone
My mother frequently forwards me viral emails that are harmless enough and I usually ignore most of them. (Sorry, Mom!) However, yesterday she forwarded me a viral email that could potentially be dangerous. So, I did a little bit of research on the Internet and here is what I found in terms of what is true, not true, and partly true. Hope it helps you. As with any information you get in an email, verify, verify, verify. All the best, -Martie
This cell phone viral email has been making the rounds since 2005, in various versions and with different subject headings. Some of the things mentioned are not true and some are partly true. The resources I used to verify the information are listed at the end, but what I found is distilled in italics and dark red after each claim.
The short version is this:
5 Things To Know About Your Cell Phone, Print & Keep With You
There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:
FIRST (Worldwide Emergency) Dial 112
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.
PARTLY TRUE: That claim is partly true because 112 is an emergency phone number throughout most of the European Union, along with a few neighboring countries, and dialing 112 will connect callers to local emergency services. However, the system does not include North and South America, Asia, or Africa.
Some versions of this viral email claimed that ‘112’ works even if there is no signal, which is not true. Dialing ‘112’ will attempt to connect to any available network, but it will not work if no signal is available.
In the United States, dialing 911 is the most direct and reliable way of contacting emergency services regardless of what phone you use. Dialing ‘112’ in the United States, will delay emergency services getting to you.
SECOND (Hidden Battery Power) Dial *3370#
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.
NOT TRUE: That claim is NOT true, even for Nokia phones. On some Nokia phones, users can punch in special ‘speech codec’ codes to switch between modes that will enhance voice transmission quality while diminishing the battery’s performance or enhance battery performance by reducing the voice quality. The code *3370# can be used on some Nokia models to activate the Enhanced Full Rate Codec (EFR). Since this code activates the best sound quality on the phone, the change will decrease the battery charge, in other words, the opposite of the claim.
If you do have the right Nokio phone model, then the Half Rate Codec, which provides about 30% more talk time on a battery charge at the expense of lower sound quality is enabled by pressing the sequence *#4720#. Remember, the *3370# sequence will enable the Enhanced Full Rate Codec, which, as mentioned, provides better sound quality, but a shorter battery life.
Entering the code has no effect at all on brands of phone other than Nokia.
THIRD (Copy Serial Number to Disable STOLEN Mobile Phone ) Dial *#06# for Serial Number
To check your Mobile phone’s serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. If your phone is stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won’t get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can’t use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.
PARTLY TRUE: That claim is partly true because on some cell phone models, but not all, pressing *#06# will cause the phone’s 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to be displayed. Some service providers, but not all, can use that information to deactivate the handset. Either way, you don’t need to supply the IMEI number to cancel your cellular account in the event of theft, just call your provider, give them the your account information, and let them know the phone was stolen.
If you cannot find your IMEI by dialing the *#06#, remember that the IMEI is usually printed underneath the battery. You can also check your mobile phone’s ‘system settings’ section for ‘about phone’ information, which will include your IMEI, as well as your phone’s make, model, software, etc.
If a phone is reported lost or stolen, the IMEI can be used to disable the phone, making it impossible for thieves to use it. The GSM Association manages a system known as the IMEI Database (IMEI DB) that compiles a “black list” of IMEIs associated with GSM or 3G devices that should be denied service on mobile networks because they have been reported as lost, stolen, faulty or otherwise unsuitable for use. The IMEI DB acts as a central system for network operators to share their individual black lists so that devices denied service by one network will not work on other networks even if the SIM card in the device is changed.
So, you should record your IMEI just in case you need to report the phone as lost or stolen at some point, but, even if you don’t know your IMEI, you should report a lost or stolen phone to your service provider as soon as possible and ask them to deactivate your mobile phone account so that you are not billed for calls made with your stolen phone.
FOURTH (Free Directory Service for Cells) Dial 800-FREE-411 (800-3733-411)
Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don’t have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE411 or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.
PARTLY TRUE: That claim is partly true because there are some business outfits such as (800) FREE-411 that do provide free directory assistance services to cell phone users. However, users should note that the service is “free” in the sense that FREE-411 provides directory information to callers at no charge, but your cellular service provider may still assess charges related to placing such calls. Additionally, you often have to listen to advertisements to use these “free” 411 assistance services.
An alternative (with no ads) for directory assistance is the GOOGL service. You can send a text message to “GOOGL” by doing the following:
1) Send a text message to “GOOGL” or 46645.
2) In the subject area, type the name of the city, and whatever you need to find, for example, San Jose Fairmont Hotel. (Don’t worry about puncutation, you don’t need it.)
3) Press send.
Almost immediately, you will receive a text message with the address and phone number. Best of all, you won’t have to listen to any advertisements as you do on the Free 411 call.
Finally, some versions of this viral email claim that you can unlock your car with your cell phone, if your car has a remote keyless entry.
FIFTH (Unlock Your Car with Your Phone)
This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other “remote” for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).
NOT TRUE: That claim is NOT true, at least not anymore. The door lock thing hasn’t worked since the very earliest analog cell phones and car door locks that used high frequency range audio tones.
Cars with remote keyless entry (RKE) systems cannot be unlocked by relaying a key fob transmitter signal via a cellular telephone. RKE systems and cell phones use different types of signals and transmit them at different frequencies. Keyless entry systems work on radio waves, not sound, so it is hard to conceive that the unlock signal could be transmitted via a mobile phone call.
Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved
http://sccfd.org/travel.html (SCCFD – Travel Info)