Major cell phone carriers across the country are banding together along, with law enforcement, to make cell phone theft a thing of the past.

Nowa new plan could keep you more protected.

It used to be that anyone could take any cell phone into a wireless store and have it reactivated, stolen or not, no questions asked.

Now law enforcement is stepping up to bring cell phone thieves down.

Law enforcement officials say the aftermarket resale of these phones is a huge business. Cell phone theft accounts for more than 40 percent of robberies in America's biggest cities.

Now a new plan is in place to deter thugs from snatching cell phones, by rendering them useless. So here's how it works.

Once a cell phone is stolen, you call your carrier andreport it stolen. Now it'sblacklisted in the U.S.

If anyone tries to take the phone into a wireless store and reactivate it, the carrier will check the phone ID in the national database.

Major cell carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint -- would all share the information, banning service from that stolen phone.

George Shamatta, of Verizon, says that besides buying special insurancewhich would allow you to go online and wipe your phone's memory clean, something as simple as a pin code could also prevent your most private information from ending up in the wrong hands.

The new blacklist database program was put together in about a week, but the FCC is giving cell phone companies up to 18 months to perfect the system.