How to avoid cellphone snatching

As everyone knows, Karachi is the city of cellphone snatchers. I am confident that there is no other city in the world where so many cellphones are snatched at gunpoint everyday, and so many people are killed for resisting to give up what is now considered a necessity and not a luxury.

Being a gadget freak and specially a mobile phone freak is very frustrating if you live in Karachi. However, I have worked out a system where I have not had even one cellphone stolen from me, although I have been carrying VERY expensive cellphones all around Karachi for quite a few years. This may be luck, but I like to believe that this is also common sense from my side. Read on to find out the tips to prevent cellphone snatching and stealing.

1 – Always keep your phone with you. This is one of the most important points. NEVER EVER leave your cellphone where you cannot see or feel it. Girls who don’t have pockets might face some problems, but guys who have lots and lots of pockets have absolutely NO excuse for leaving their cellphone on their desk when going to the washroom. Wherever you go, whateve you do, always keep your cellphone in your pocket or with you. This way you can discourage opportunists who pick up cellphones in offices. I have seen hundreds of such cellphones stolen from people, and all I can say is that if the cellphone gets stolen because you left it behind, then you’re the one who is stupid.

2 – Always keep a “decoy” phone. Buy a cheapo phone (it doesn’t have to be a working cellphone). You can get such a phone from a used mobile phone shop for 500-2000 rs. It’s a cheap insurance. I’ll explain how in just a moment.

3 – Keep your real phone out of sight. It is imperative that your real phone should be kept out of sight. Try keeping it in your pocket, and keeping the decoy phone in your hand. This makes you less of a target. People who want to show off their latest and greatest phone may balk at the idea, but I think I would prefer to have the phone with me than to have it stolen by showing it off. Your choice. Besides, cellphone snatchers don’t go around randomly stealing from people. The clever ones usually follow people a bit and keep their eyes open to find out who has the best phone and is the easiest target. Don’t show off your good phone, and do not do anything that makes you appear like an easy target.

4 – Keep displaying your “decoy” phone at opportune moments. When you stop at a red light (which is where most cellphone snatching occurs) take out your decoy phone and play with it a bit. If someone is watching you as a potential target, they might be turned off by such a cheap phone. If you see someone suspicious, take out your decoy phone and start looking at the screen as if you are reading an sms.

5 – Do not keep your real phone on you if you are driving. While driving, take out your real phone and put it in the glove compartment. Keep the decoy phone on you. This way if some snatcher feels you over after snatching your phone, he wont find the real phone on you.

6 – Try to use a bluetooth headset. Keep a bluetooth headset with you. Use that to answer your phone.

7 – Keep the bt headset out of sight too! Nothing says “I have the latest and greatest cellphone” than a bt headset stuck to your ear. Keep the headset in your pocket and only take it out to answer a call. This is actually to limit your real phone’s visibility.

8 – Keep calls short when you are vulnerable. When you are walking on the road, or in a deserted alley, do not answer your phone. If it is imperative that you answer it, do so quickly and keep the conversation as short as possible.

9 – The ultimate bluetooth headset: Be sure to check it out! I doubt many people would be able to make it, but it is something worth having. I might just give it a try if I can find my old bluetooth headset.

I hope that this helps. I really hate this cellphone snatching thing and I hope the government does something to stop it. But until then, as Mad-Eye Moody put it, “Constant Vigilance!”

30 Comments so far

  1. Hasan Atizaz (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 1:32 pm

    very true…. few sugggestions seems as funny but believe or not they will going to help…. VERY NICE.

  2. ny (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 2:43 pm

    refer to yr Point no. 5: dont use phone when in car. not possible. what if it rings…once hapnd with me. spoke in the car in crowded saddar area (back couple of years ago) car was locked, glasses all rolled up. two guys knock on my window when teh car is stationary at signal (one b4 the BVS school at electronic market) show a gun. Forced to roll down the windows, they ask for teh phone and walk away…phone was 8910.all this under the gaze of thousands of onlookers.
    any suggestions??

  3. khanana (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    Yaar jana hoga tu phir bhi jae ga :P

    dont worry stay cool

  4. Zain (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 3:06 pm

    All the snatchers in reading, note the above tips and lets make a new strategy. Although our existing practices can win us the sets without any problems but lets revise the procedures to cover the above tips :)


  5. sheryar (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

    10. Carry a gun in one of your many pockets. When the chor ka bacha knocks on your window for your phone, smile and give it to him. Next, wait for him to turn his back, pull out your gun and… BANG. Last, calmly search the chors body for all his other phones / stolen goods and put them in your car.

    Drive away smoking a ciggarette.

    11. If biker boys act funny and try to get you to stop, make like you’re stopping slowly, slam the breaks (they’ll fly right by, thanks top gun) and then jam your accelerator and run the motherf**kers over whilst ducking to avoid any bullets that they might fire off in your direction.

    I could go on. My point is that living in fear is never good for ones attitude in life. If they (the thieves) have the impunity and lack of fear to snatch phones, we should have the impunity and lack of fear to kill/seriously injure them.

    Even if it means getting shot / shot at by them.

    I for one wouldn’t mind bleeding from a gunshot wound knowing that a phone stealing bastard is bleeding from getting run over, under my car. Even if he lives and I don’t, I doubt he’s going to be stealing any more phones from our proud people.

    All thats required is timing. And balls.

    (guts if you’re a woman, sorry.)


  6. Khurram Farooq (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 3:43 pm

    @NY: I never said not to use the phone while in the car. I merely said not to keep it in your pocket. When a phone call comes, answer using your bt headset, and cover the headset with your decoy phone so that it looks like you are talking in a cheapo phone.

    @Khanana: Of course it can still get stolen, but at least you did everything you could to prevent it. It’s the same difference as getting hit by a car while crossing the road or jumping infront of a car deliberately. Marna ho ga to mur hi jao gay, but that doesn’t mean you put a loaded gun to your head and press the trigger.

    @Sheryar: Although point number 10 is a little extreme (only because it is difficult to carry a gun legally in Pakistan; otherwise I definitely would have one!), rest assured that if I get a chance to run over a couple of cellphone snatchers with my car, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. They deserve everything they get. Infact, I have heard many stories where one of the snatchers gets caught and a few guys beat him up. If it ever happens in front of me, I would give him a piece of me too!

  7. ny (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

    And yes sone could discourage the snatching by buying only new phones or if buying used phones then buying thoze with warranty certificate attached and packed in box with all accessories…

  8. khanana (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    Borther I agree one should be alert and cautious but knowing things in Karachi we should be always ready to handover our cell or car anywhere anytime. Never resist or try to be smart, this is the place where you can be shot just for a cell phone, so never ever try any silly smartness on the gunpoint. Life is more important than your cell or car

  9. Khurram Farooq (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

    @Khanana: I agree that your life is a lot more important than a cellphone or a car. Unfortunately other peopple don’t think so, resist, and get shot. So please please please do follow all the precautions, but like Khanana said, don’t even think about resisting if you are faced with the worst of the worst. Hand it over and do not resist!

    @NY: Good point bro, but unless everyone does that, it’s of no use. Similar to the electricity problem and its solution by buying UPS, there is only so much that you can wait for others to do. My solution is only a personal solution, and not an optimum one, but it works to an extent.

  10. yo yo (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

    I think Khurram..

    Companies should make self destruct phones.

    I would love to blow the ass of the guy who stole my phone with the click of a button.

    Will also serve as a deterrent.

  11. al khan (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    The Cellphone companies can disable any phone if they are provided with the IMEI number. Not only will the sim not work that was with the phone, but if any other sim is placed in the phone – the handset itself will not work. This makes snatching a phone useless in the first place.

  12. sarah (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

    Why even BUy a Decoy cell phone, jUSt buy a TOY Cell phone !!!lolZ :D

  13. ovaceroo (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:25 pm

    wouldnt an even better option simply be to get your phone insured? If you’ve got a bling phone … im sure you wouldn’t mind dishing out an extra premium for at least SOME peace of mind. Think about it … keeping ‘decoy’ phones, performing timed stealth maneuvers at traffic signals – its all terribly unnatural. Yes i know one needs to be sharp on the mean streets of karachi … but lets not forget the guy’s a crook … if he doesnt like your cell phone he’ll ask for your wallet, or your mp3 player, or your wristwatch … hell maybe even that juicy zinger with cheese you were just about to tuck in to (decoy zinger anyone ..?!) All that’s required is a bit of common sense … don’t whip out your Vertu if you find yourself in a dodgy locality, as a matter of fact if you own one of those and insist on flashing it in public (and thats not just karachi), perhaps you’re just asking for it anyways.

    I was just picturing the scene … traffic light turns red and the occupants of the 50 odd cars stopped at the signal suddenly whip out their ‘decoys’ in synchronised motion and commence fiddling with the gadget. Imagine the sight for a lurking snatcher … he’d be drooling like a paedophile in a nursery !!

  14. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:29 pm

    sarah boht zaheen hey,she would be next lady PM of Pakistan after Ms.Bhutto :>

  15. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:39 pm

    what about this system,is it applicable in Pakistan.Check the link below:

  16. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:47 pm


    you are right…you can be shot for just a cell only and the reason is simple. The snatcher’s life has been already on stake when he is playing his game. its like Do or Die Mentality.

    New Trend in Mobile Snatching:-

    Somebdoy told me this has been covered in DAWN as well. The new trend has enabled snatchers to turn the public bus in to joyful ride of freedum ful snatching from the Whole Bus. I have witnessed this on two occasions. At one incident nobody appeared to be carrying the cell after body search by snatching. On the other one snatchers take the mobile phones from everyone sitting at the seat adjacent to back gate.

    I dont know if you guys know about the capability of GSM companies locking the whole cell phone from further use thus facilitating the discouragement to everybody involving in this crude business as no one would be willing to buy a non-functioning phone. The problem is no company here has the feature i dont know why ( may be they are funded heavily from mobile-chores )
    This works like you report the robbery and tell them your cell’s IMEI number, now as soon as the Cell goes live it is detected as a robbed one.

  17. Kashif (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

    Q: How to avoid cellphone snatching?

    A: Keep your cellphone at home :)

  18. sarah (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

    COOL:D !!!

  19. Abdul Sami (unregistered) on April 24th, 2006 @ 11:56 pm

    Q: How to avoid cellphone snatching?

    i escaped about two times utilizing the same trick :D

  20. sarah (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 12:07 am


  21. Afreen (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 12:41 am

    Nice tricks, posted, Khurram! :D

    You made me proud with the last paragraph. ;)

  22. Syed (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 12:54 am
  23. nida (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 1:52 am

    ..Although im a girl ..if ever i get a chance to see the idiot snatcher even he will be stealing somebody else’s cell..i won’t leave him…i have planned that if i hear the “pukro pukro “sound …. i will open the door of my car’s door suddenly and he will be smashed…may be my door tooo :(

  24. MB (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 7:30 am

    Does anyone has any idea why the cellular companies dont provide the facility of blocking the set using IMEI. Any official view ?

  25. Half Life (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 8:40 am

    This is the funniest post I have ever seen on this forum. How old are you people :-)

  26. xia (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    This maybe a little extreme, but in my opinion when a snatcher is caught, he/she should be torched in public.

    A little lesser extreme would be to follow the snatcher to his/her dealer. Catch them both, tie them to a KESC Pole, and torch ’em in public.

    A little more lesser extreme would be to follow the dealer to the shop where he/she sells this stuff, put the snatcher, the dealer and the shop keeper inside the shop, and torch the shop in public.

    If we do not punish these culprits publicly, things are not going to get any better. People need to see the punishment for wrong doing and take ibra’t (lesson) from it. If people have no fear, they will do anything and everything to make money. These people are from amongst us. If we complain about them we should be ready to punish them without any mercy.

  27. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 9:24 am

    Does anyone has any idea why the cellular companies dont provide the facility of blocking the set using IMEI. Any official view ?

    Almost everyone

  28. Fullytun (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 9:35 am


    R u sure that there is no cellphone snatchers reading this blog!!!!!!!!!!!.


  29. Xill-e-Ilahi (unregistered) on April 25th, 2006 @ 6:51 pm


    “wouldnt an even better option simply be to get your phone insured?”

    I don’t know of many companies giving cell-phone insurance. Do you? Specifically insurance which covers street crime. If they were I bet all the phones in Khi-land would be insured by now.

  30. Nudrah (unregistered) on April 28th, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

    where are you all people writing from? Karachi or USA?

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.