Cell Phones, Cars And Snopes

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

My Dad loves to send me emails that are safety-oriented. Some are great, like the one about WD-40. Not only does it explain what it really is (fish oil), but all of the cool stuff it can do. And, of course, the email that warns you to never get out of your car if some guy comes up, knocks on the window, and says, “you dropped this fifty-dollar bill”. He just wants to kill you.

But he sent me one that I thought was amazing….until I checked it out on Snopes. Now granted, I didn’t check out the WD-40 stuff on Snopes. And I didn’t check the other one out either because there was no fear of me rolling down my window to take a fifty from a killer since I don’t carry fifty-dollar bills. But the latest one he sent about cell phones was interesting, had it been true. Parts of it have truth, and parts do not. Here is the email:

5 Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do

First – Emergency

The emergency number worldwide for mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of you 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.

Second – 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: works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!

Third – Hidden Battery Power

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.

Fourth – How to disable a stolen mobile phone?

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 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.

Fifth – Free Directory Services For Cells

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.

BUT WAIT! Before you program anything into your phone, here is the complete truth according to Snopes:

First – Dialing 112 isn’t a magic number that suddenly allows you to use your cell in areas where signals are blocked, or otherwise unavailable. However, in Europe and other parts of the world, 112 will connect you to local emergency services, even if you aren’t authorized to use the tower. Also available overseas…many cell phones allow the user to place 112 calls, even without a SIM card, or a locked keypad.

Second – Cars with RKE systems, (RKE stand for Remote Key Entry) don’t use the same type of signal, and transmit at different frequencies than cell phones. So you can’t use your key fob transmitter signal via a cell phone.

Third – There is an option on some phone brands (like Nokia) called half Rate Codec, which provides about 30% more talk time with lower sound quality. However, you achieve this by entering *#4720#, not *3370#. *3370# activated the Enhanced Full Rate Codec, which actually provides better sound quality but actually drains your battery much quicker.

Fourth – Once again, entering *#06# may produce your 15-digit ID string, but it only works on some phones. Also, your providers ability to disable a phone with the ID number is limited.

Fifth – Yes, (800) FREE-411 does provide free directory assistance, but cell providers may still assess charges related to placing such calls.

- by Lynn Carey

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