Fake Phones Stolen

from the whoops dept

Derek writes “One of the problems that is more prevalent in Europe than in the Americas is the amount of mobile phones that are stolen. The GSM system’s simplicity is partly to blame. Stolen GSM phones can be easily “laundered” by tossing the SIM card, and installing another. With the new SIM card, the phone now works for its new ‘owner’. The thefts are not limited to individual phones: warehouses in Denver and Chicago have been robbed in the past year. Well, today we can make fun of the thieves, since the ne’er-do-wells are now properly equipped with 25,000 dummy Ericsson display phones. Had the phones been real, they would be worth $5M. Since they’re not, here are some suggestions for the criminals in case they read Techdirt: use as doggie chew toys; baby chew toys; sell it as a working phone to similarly scrupulous morons; match them with 2″ by 10″ lumber to build shelving; build a display and play ‘store’; use the boxes to build a “fort”, then lock yourself up inside to practice for when you get sent up to the big house.”

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Comments on “Fake Phones Stolen”

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euroman says:

GSM SImplicity?

What a load of nonsense. All phones contain a unique identifier and a stolen phone can be blocked trivially based on this. The problem has nothing to do with GSM and everything to do with the phone companies not being prepared to use the availabel information to combat phone theft because they would then have to talk to each other.

aussieman (user link) says:

Re: GSM SImplicity?

The problem is also compounded by telcos happy to reap the boon of this form of crime, a stolen GSM handset with a new sim card + another GSM phone for the victim of the theft = 2 subscribers where once there was one = double profit from one original subscription and handset purchase. Estimating the annual overall profit increase for a telco is left as an exercise for the reader. There would also be a new board of directors next monday morning if they turned the billing addresses of thousands of paying users (with stolen handsets) over to police for investigation.

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