Scotts Bluff County - Communications E 911 Center

Cell Phone Mis-information

Beware of forwarded emails offering mysterious tips and tricks "you never knew." Most of the claims in this message are either false or have limited applicability. We'll examine them one by one:

Forwarded emails purports to clue readers in on various 'unknown' tips and tricks for cell phone use, including dialing 112 to access a worldwide emergency network.

There are multiple versions and variations - Status: Mostly false

Here is how the mail might appear to 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 - The mail explains how to report an Emergency.
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.

No. Not true. 112 is not a worldwide mobile phone number. Throughout most of Europe and a few countries outside of the EU (European Union), dialing 112 will connect users to local emergency services. However, the number won't work in North America, nor most of Asia and Africa. Many, but not all, cell phone models will allow special emergency numbers to be dialed even if the phone lacks a SIM card or the keypad is locked.

SECOND - The mail asks: Have you locked your keys in the car?
Does your car have remote keyless entry? 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). Editor's Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!"

CLAIM: Unlock a car door with your cell phone and a spare remote key. False. Cell phones and remote keyless entry systems work on entirely different radio frequencies. Therefore, cell phones are incapable of re-transmitting the signal from a remote key to unlock a car door. The commercials that are currently being aired on TV are showing an APP that uses an interface from a smart phone to another device that establishes an electronic bridge to send a signal to unlock the car.

THIRD - Hidden Battery Power.
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# your cell 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 next time.

CLAIM: Press *3370# to access 'reserve battery power.' False. On some Nokia phones, users can punch in special codes and toggle between speech codec modes to 1) enhance voice transmission quality at the cost of diminished battery performance, or 2) enhance battery performance by decreasing voice quality. Apparently, some users have misconstrued the latter as "tapping into reserve battery power." On that score the email is doubly erroneous because *3370# is the code for enhancing voice quality, so using it actually decreases battery life!

FOURTH - How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone gets 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.

Not exactly. On some cell phone models, but not all, pressing *#06# will cause the phone's 15-digit International Mobile Equipment Identity to be displayed. Some service providers, but not all, can use that information to deactivate the handset. In any case, it isn't necessary to supply an IMEI number to cancel your cellular account in the event of theft; simply call your provider, give them the appropriate account information, and tell them the phone was stolen.

FIFTH - Calling for "INFORMATION".
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) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now. This is the kind of information people don't mind receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends.

Some cell phone users can make 411 calls on their cell phone without charge by dialing (800) FREE 411. This is basically true, though cell phone users may still incur a charge for minutes used, depending on the specifics of their plan. Call your cell service provider to find out for sure.

Updated: 2011.02.22 - 14:20 MDT