Tag Archives: IMEI

CheckMEND acquires Trace.com and Phonehistoryreport.com to expand its USA operations

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: PLEASE NOTE THAT AS DATA FROM TRACE IS CURRENTLY BEING INTEGRATED WITH OUR SYSTEMS WE RECOMMEND USERS ALSO RUN A FREE SEARCH ON TRACE (www.trace.com) WHILST THE WORK IS COMPLETED.

CheckMEND the world’s largest due diligence service which is owned by Recipero is delighted to announce the recent acquisitions of two US centric businesses, the Trace due diligence system and PhoneHistoryReport the stolen phone checking service. The data from both businesses will be incorporated into the CheckMEND service over the next few weeks.

Both services will complement the existing CheckMEND service providing millions of new records to the CheckMEND website. Of particular note is that the acquisition of Trace will allow CheckMEND to access stolen property data from over 18,000 US law enforcement agencies vastly expanding their reach in the US market. Adrian Portlock CEO of Recipero commented:

These two acquisitions are strategically very important to us as we look to replicate the huge success of CheckMEND in the UK and Europe in the USA. We are already talking to a range of organisations who wish to use the new enhanced CheckMEND service in the US and we are very excited about the potential opportunities this provides to the US consumer buying and selling on sites such as EBay and Craig’s List.

Merseyside Police adopt the Immobilise system

Were you lucky enough to receive a new mobile phone, MP3 player, Sat Nav, bike or other valuables this Christmas? If so, Merseyside Police is urging you to make them less attractive to would be thieves by immobilising them.

Merseyside Police have adopted the Immobilise system – a property registering scheme which aims to make life as difficult as possible for thieves. The aim of the scheme is to encourage members of the public to register with the Immobilise website (www.immobilise.com), a simple process which takes just a few minutes.

The website allows users to register their personal possessions on a secure database free of charge. If any lost or stolen items are recovered by police, officers can retrieve the owner’s details from the website. They can be returned to the owner with, in the case of theft, a better prospect of a successful prosecution.

The Immobilise website is linked to the National Mobile Property Register, a national police database of registered property ownership and stolen property records.

Chief Inspector Stuart Ellison comments:

Being a victim of crime is awful at anytime, but the impact can often be greater at Christmas, particularly if gifts are stolen. Registering items on the site only takes a few minutes and it may help you become reunited with your property if it is stolen or lost.

The NMPR is searched thousands of times a day by forces across the UK and it is used routinely by Merseyside Police.

Merseyside Police advise taking the following precautions with items such as mobile phones and MP3 players:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, and conceal items if you feel uneasy.
  • Never leave your property unattended, keep it on you, not near you.
  • Be particularly vigilant whilst travelling home from school or college and when leaving railway stations or other public transport locations.
  • Finally, register your property for free at www.immobilise.com

Basically, you can register anything with a serial number – simply log onto www.immobilise.com. Then if any item of registered property is stolen, report it to the Police and, in the case of a mobile phone, for example, give police your IMEI number, inform your service provider and tell them to block both the SIM and handset. You should then update your online Immobilise account.

To read the Merseyside Police news article in full please go to: www.merseyside.police.uk

Bath MP add his support to the Immobilise Property Register

Adding to the great support that the Immobilise Property Register receives though out the country, Bath MP Don Foster is calling on the local police to back the immobilise.com website.

Immobilise is the world’s largest free register of possession ownership details and together with its sister sites the Police’s NMPR (www.thenmpr.com) and CheckMEND (www.checkmend.com), forms a very effective tool in helping to reduce crime and repatriate recovered personal property to its rightful owners.

In Bristol the Avon and Somerset Police have held a stall for those who are unable to use the website itself, allowing residents to register their goods. All items with some form of identification, for instance a part number or serial number, can be registered on the website.

According to his website (www.donfoster.co.uk) Don Foster has asked Bath police to consider holding a street stall in early January to enable Christmas gifts to be registered.

Don Foster said;

When I heard about this website I immediately thought about bike post coding. It is great if stolen property can be re-united with the owner, and by registering your goods at immobilise.com you increase the chances of having goods returned to you.

I hope our local police will help to promote this scheme and also consider holding a street stall for those not able to sign up on-line.

Immobilise helps police reunite 250 items of recovered property with their owners

Property Marking EventPolice in Avon and Somerset yesterday (Thursday December 17) held their latest “Relentless” day, focussing on the prevention of theft and burglary.

There have been 26 Operation Relentless “days of action” since its launch in June 2005, which has resulted in more than 2150 arrests.

“Operation Relentless on Property” has targeted thieves and those who handle stolen goods in addition to highlighting crime prevention initiatives to the public to foil burglars and other criminals.

As part of the day of action, police and partner agencies engaged in a range of activities across Somerset. A warrant was carried out in the Taunton area leading to the arrest of a man for handling stolen goods. Vulnerable Vehicle Checks were carried out across the area, inspecting vehicles and identifying those with items of value left on display. The owners of the cars have been sent a letter reminding them to keep items such as phones, MP3s and Satellite Navigation Systems out of sight.

Officers also visited several second hand goods retailers with Trading Standards to ensure that they were complying with regulations and not trading in stolen items. Six arrests were made during the course of the morning. Five men were arrested for theft and another man was arrested for handling stolen goods. Four have been given bail pending further enquiries.

Officers from the district’s CID department also managed to reunite 250 items of detained property with their rightful owners this week.

Detective Inspector Alan West said:

When police receive items of property that have been recovered from thefts and burglaries, officers try to trace the owners of the items to return their possessions to them. If electrical items are registered on Immobilise and other items such as jewellery or antiques are property marked with the owners address or postcode, this process can be straightforward.

However, unmarked or unregistered items can languish in the Detained Property Department unclaimed for long periods and some items can never be linked to an owner. I would really encourage the public to either register their items on Immobilise or mark them with a UV pen or other property marking device so we can return them to you if the worst were to happen. Marking your items can also sometimes act as a deterrent to would be criminals.

Neighbourhood officers and PCSOs were also in Taunton town centre this morning registering people’s property, such as mobile phones, cameras and mp3 players, on the Immobilise website and carrying out bike and property marking. The Deputy Chief Constable, Rob Beckley, joined them in giving festive advice on how to beat the burglars and assisted with a bicycle property marking session. The team will be in the town centre again on January 13 and 21 offering these services for those who had new bikes or electronic equipment for Christmas.

In Bridgwater, officers held a property marking session at Bridgwater College for the students to register mobile phones and laptops on the Immobilise website and officers from Burnham-on-Sea visited King Alfred School in Highbridge and Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar to take property marking kits to mark and record mobile phones and MP3 players. Other property marking sessions also took place in Wellington Square in Minehead and the Town Hall in Dulverton.

DCC Beckley said:

We really want people to have a wonderful Christmas and New Year but we ask them to take some sensible measures to ensure that their festive period isn’t marred by becoming a victim of opportunistic thieves. One-in-four burglaries occur after the householder failed to secure their home and the burglar entered the property via an open door or window!

I encourage people to think about how their house looks when they go out – don’t make it obvious that there is nobody home, leave a light on and the radio playing and most importantly – make sure you lock all doors and windows, even if you are only popping out for a short period of time.

Inspector Nick Greenhalgh from the Community Safety team at Taunton Police Station said people can help protect themselves from opportunistic thieves by employing these simple measures:

  • Ensure windows and doors are shut and locked when you are out
  • Lock sheds and garages
  • Don’t leave car keys left in an outside porch or within reach of letter boxes
  • Shoppers are advised not to leave presents in view on car seats. They should be taken home immediately and not left in the vehicle.
  • Christmas presents – wrapped or unwrapped – should not be left in view in the home.
  • Don’t leave boxes from new TVs or laptops on display outside your home, take them to the tip.
  • Register your property on www.immobilise.com
  • Mark your property – kits are available from your local police teams.

Further information regarding home security and crime prevention can be obtained from your local Safer Stronger Neighbourhood team. You can contact them by calling 0845 456 7000 or you can log on to our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk and select the Crime Prevention heading.

To read the source article in full please go to: www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/LocalPages/NewsDetails.aspx?nsid=18923&t=1&lid=5

Beat the burglars – protect your presents!

Two uniformed PCs facing away from the camera on patrol in BroadmeadPolice in Bristol are giving Christmas shoppers the gift of burglary prevention as part of the forcewide Operation Relentless day.

Officers in the new “cop shop” at The Mall Bristol, in Broadmead, are inviting shoppers to stop by and have their Christmas purchases registered on a national property database, called Immobilise.

Keith Rundle, Neighbourhood Inspector for Cabot and Clifton, said:

At this time of year people are thinking about getting the last bit of Christmas shopping done and all other things festive. But if someone was to break into your home and steal all those presents Christmas would be ruined and you would be very out of pocket.

Items that can be traced and identified are harder to sell and far less attractive to thieves, so registering on Immobilise can be a deterrent, and if the worst did happen it may help us to reunite property with its rightful owner – if recovered.

We want people to take steps to stop themselves becoming victims of burglary. Visiting our officers in The Mall Bristol or at Curry’s in Channon’s Hill and registering on Immobilise is a good start.

There are also all sorts of additional tips and advice we can give to you on other ways to make your home, and everything in it, more secure – so come and see us.

Immobilise is easy to use and completely free. It is the only national property database that will throw up results through Avon and Somerset Police’s standard checks on recovered stolen property if the items have been registered.

It is also a deterrent to thieves because items that can be traced and identified are harder to sell and can be less attractive to thieves.

To use Immobilise anyone can visit the website www.immobilise.com and open an account and put details and serial numbers of items like laptops, cameras, mobile phones and bikes into the account.

If the items are ever stolen the account holder logs on and marks them as stolen. They will then be flagged up on the national database as stolen when checked by retailers or police forces.

To read the source article please go to: Bristol Police

London Met Police See Rise in Phone Thefts at Music Gigs

Nine people have been arrested in London in the past fortnight as officers crack down on organised gangs of thieves targeting music fans carrying expensive mobile phones at crowded gigs.

Officers have recorded a rise in the number of thefts at indoor and outdoor music venues across the country.

They believe pickpockets are targeting top-end mobile phones used by many to take pictures and record acts on stage.

Investigators said surging crowds and booming music can make individuals more vulnerable to theft and help criminals escape. Members of the National Mobile Phone Crime Unit (NMPCU), based within the Metropolitan Police, have warned music venues of the trend.

Detective Superintendent Nev Nolan, who leads the unit, said:

We want all fans to enjoy their concert and to have a good experience.

We are concerned that organised thieves are targeting concerts to steal phones from genuine fans.

A lot of people like to use their mobile phones to film or take photographs of the concert, but will then return the phone to an insecure bag or pocket, where thieves are able to snatch it.

When they discover it is gone, many will simply assume it is lost and simply cancel the sim, without reporting it to the police.

A lot of people will be getting mobile phones for Christmas and we would urge them to keep them safe and to register their phones with the website Immobilise.com.

Source: The Press Association

The pocket spy: Will your smartphone rat you out? – New Scientist

by Linda Geddes (New Scientist)

The pocket spy: Will your smartphone rat you out? – tech – 14 October 2009 – New Scientist.

THERE are certain things you do not want to share with strangers. In my case it was a stream of highly personal text messages from my husband, sent during the early days of our relationship. Etched on my phone’s SIM card – but invisible on my current handset and thus forgotten – here they now are, displayed in all their brazen glory on a stranger’s computer screen.

I’ve just walked into a windowless room on an industrial estate in Tamworth, UK, where three cellphone analysts in blue shirts sit at their terminals, scrutinising the contents of my phone and smirking. “If it’s any consolation, we would have found them even if you had deleted them,” says one.

Worse, it seems embarrassing text messages aren’t the only thing I have to worry about: “Is this a photo of your office?” another asks (the answer is yes). “And did you enjoy your pizza on Monday night? And why did you divert from your normal route to work to visit this address in Camberwell, London, on Saturday?”

I’m at DiskLabs, a company that handles cellphone forensic analysis for UK police forces, but also for private companies and individuals snooping on suspect employees or wayward spouses. Armed with four cellphones, which I have begged, borrowed and bought off friends and strangers, I’m curious to know just how much personal information can be gleaned from our used handsets and SIM cards.

A decade ago, our phones’ memories could just about handle text messages and a contacts book. These days, the latest smartphones incorporate GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity and motion sensors. They automatically download your emails and appointments from your office computer, and come with the ability to track other individuals in your immediate vicinity. And there’s a lot more to come. Among other things, you could be using the next generation of phones to keep tabs on your health, store cash and make small transactions – something that’s already happening in east Asia (see “Future phones“).

Gone phishing

These changes could well be exploited in much the same way that email and the internet can be used to “phish” for personal information such as bank details. Indeed, some phone-related scams are already emerging, including one that uses reprogrammed cellphones to intercept passwords for other people’s online bank accounts. “Mobile phones are becoming a bigger part of our lives,” says Andy Jones, head of information security research at British Telecommunications. “We trust and rely on them more. And as we rely on them more, the potential for fraud has got to increase.”

So just how secure is the data we store on our phones? If we are starting to use them as combined diaries and wallets, what happens if we lose them or they are stolen? And what if we simply trade in our phones for recycling?

According to the UK government’s Design and Technology Alliance Against Crime (DTAAC), 80 per cent of us carry information on our handsets that could be used to commit fraud – and about 16 per cent of us keep our bank details on our phones. I thought my Nokia N96 would hold few surprises, though, since I had only been using it for a few weeks when I submitted it to DiskLabs. Yet their analysts proved me wrong.

Aside from the text messages stored on my SIM card, the most detailed personal information that could be gleaned from my handset came from an application called Sports Tracker. It allows users to measure their athletic performance over time and I had been using it to measure how fast I could cycle to work across London. It records distance travelled, fastest speed at different points along the route, changes in altitude, and roughly how many calories I burn off. But when DiskLabs uploaded this data to their computer and ran it through Google

they were able to pull up images of the front of my office and my home – with the house number clearly displayed. Sports Tracker also recorded what time I normally leave the house in the morning and when I return from work. “If I wanted more information, then I could just stalk you,” says Neil Buck, a senior analyst at DiskLabs.

I had deliberately chosen to turn Sports Tracker on, and many people might not stop to consider how such programs could be used against them. In February, Google launched Latitude, networking software for smartphones that shares your location with friends. It can be turned off, but campaign group Privacy International is concerned by Latitude’s complex settings and says it is possible the program could broadcast your location to others without your knowledge. “Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends,” the organisation warns.

It is possible your phone could broadcast your location to others without your knowledge

A phone-based calendar could also leave you vulnerable. Police in the UK have already identified burglaries that were committed after the thief stole a phone and then targeted the individual’s home because their calendar said they were away on holiday, says Joe McGeehan, head of Toshiba’s research lab in Europe and leader of DTAAC’s Design Out Crime project, which recently set UK designers the challenge of trying to make cellphones less attractive to people like hackers and identity thieves. “It’s largely opportunistic, but if you’ve got all your personal information on there, like bank details, social security details and credit card information, then you’re really asking for someone to ‘become’ you, or rob you, or invade your corporate life,” McGeehan says.

Code cracker

When Buck looked at my colleague’s iPhone, he found two 4-digit numbers stored in his address book under the names “M” and “V”. A search through his text messages revealed a few from Virgin informing him that a new credit card, ending in a specific number, had just been mailed to him. Buck guessed that “M” and “V” were PIN codes for the Virgin credit card and a Mastercard – and he proved to be correct on both counts.

“Out of context, an individual piece of information such as an SMS is almost meaningless,” says Jones. “But when you have a large volume of information – a person’s diary for the year, his emails, the plans he’s building – and you start to put them together, you can make some interesting discoveries.”

In this way the DiskLabs team also identified my colleague’s wife’s name, her passport number and its expiry date, and that she banks with Barclays. Ironically, Barclays had contacted her regarding fraud on her card and she had texted this to her husband. Buck’s team also discovered my colleague’s email address, his Facebook contacts, and their email addresses.

This kind of personal data is valuable and can fetch a high price online. It’s ideal for so-called 419 scams, for instance, in which you receive an email asking for help in exporting cash from a foreign country via your bank account, in exchange for a share of the profits. “What they need to launch a successful 419 scam is personal information,” says Jones.

A growing awareness of identity theft means that many people now destroy or wipe computer hard drives before throwing them away, but the same thing isn’t yet happening with cellphones, says Jones. At the same time, we are recycling ever greater numbers of handsets. According to market analysts ABI Research, by 2012 over 100 million cellphones will be recycled for reuse each year.

As part of a study to find better ways to protect cellphone data, Jones recently acquired 135 cellphones and 26 BlackBerry devices from volunteers, cellphone recycling companies and online auctioneers eBay. Around half of the devices couldn’t be accessed because they were faulty. In our own smartphone experiment, we were unable to retrieve any data from a BlackBerry, or the Samsung E590.

However, Jones’s team found 10 phones that contained enough personal data to identify previous users, and 12 had enough information for their owner’s employer to be identified – even though just three of the phones contained SIM cards.

Of the 26 BlackBerrys, four contained information from which the owner could be identified and seven contained enough to identify the owner’s employer. “The big surprise was the amount we got off the BlackBerry devices, which we had expected to be much more secure,” says Jones. While BlackBerry users have the option of encrypting their data or sending a message to purge data from their phones should it be sold or stolen, many had not done this. “Security is only any good if you turn the damned thing on,” says Jones.

Security is only any good if you turn the damned thing on

His team managed to trace one BlackBerry back to a senior sales director of a Japanese corporation. They recovered his call history, 249 address book entries, his diary, 90 email addresses and 291 emails. This enabled them to determine the structure of his organisation and responsibilities of individuals working within it; the organisation’s business plans for the next period; its main customers and the state of its relationships with them; travel and accommodation arrangements of the individual; his family details – including children, their occupations and movements, marital status, addresses, domestic arrangements, appointments and addresses for medical and dental care; his bank account numbers and sort codes, and his car registration index. Two further BlackBerrys “contained details of a personal nature about the owner and other individuals that would have caused embarrassment or distress if it had become publicly known”, says Jones.

Although his team used specialist forensic software to retrieve data from the phones, much of it could be obtained directly from the handsets themselves, or by using simple software of the kind that is sold with a phone. “This was not designed to be a sophisticated attack, it used simple techniques that anyone would have access to,” Jones says.

That’s bad news, considering that around 20 millions handsets were lost or stolen worldwide in 2008, according to UK data-security specialists Recipero. So how can people go about making their phones more secure? Turning on the security settings is an important first step, says McGeehan, as this may dissuade potential thieves from going to the effort of trying to crack the codes. Then make sure you delete anything you want to keep secret, while bearing in mind that it is often possible to recover it (see “Phone security Q & A“). “I work on the basis that anything I put on there I’ve got to be prepared for people to see,” says McGeehan.

As for me, I’ve taken to deleting potentially incriminating messages as soon as they arrive in my inbox – and reproving the sender in return. I have also passed my old handset to my husband for safekeeping. If those brazen messages must fall into someone else’s hands, I’d rather they were the hands of the Don Juan who composed them than a smirking IT geek in a distant windowless room.

To read the rest of this article please go to: New Scientist

Portable scanners crack down on phone thieves

The News Shopper in Bromley has reported that thieves are facing instant detection on the streets after the borough’s police became the first in London to purchase portable scanners.

The handheld device scans the IMEI barcode inside the back of a mobile phone and checks it against the national property register to see if it is registered as stolen.

It can also be used to check mobile phones, laptops, MP3 players and bikes, and for phones where the barcode is not easily accessable officers can simply key in the IMEI number (accessable on all phones by keying *#06#) directly into the device.

Borough commander Chief Superintendent Charles Griggs said:

The operation is one of many throughout the year where we focus on the safety of the travelling public and tackling crime and disorder on public transport.

What is different is the use of Apollo. As a portable handheld solution Apollo offers my officers remote access to the national mobile phone register whether out in the field or in the custody suite and gives us the opportunity to quickly identify stolen property.

Bromley police is encouraging everyone to register with the secure national property register at immobilise.com.

This will help the police to identify items and return them to their owners if they get lost or stolen.

Anyone with information about robbery in Bromley should call the police on 01689 891212 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

To read the source article in full please go to: The News Shopper

Avon and Somerset Police lauch mobile phone campaign

Avonandsomersetpolice20090819
DCSO Mike Willis with mobile phones which were seized as part of a police investigation

Avon and Somerset Police has launched a campaign urging people to report mobile phone thefts and add their phones to the immobilise national property register.

The campaign has been launched following the seizure of nearly 2,000 mobile phones as part of a police investigation in Bristol.

However, officers can only establish that 50 of these phones have been stolen as only a small proportion of the phones can be linked to theft-related offences reported to police.

Police raided a property, in the St Pauls area of the city, on 21 July and found a range of items, including laptops, cameras and 1,800 mobile phone handsets.

District crime support officer Mike Willis said:

We have managed to identify 50 as stolen, 58 have been blocked by the phone’s provider, while another 51 have been registered to a named user and we are currently contacting the owners of these.

However, all the others are unaccounted for. It may be that a number of these have been stolen but if they haven’t been registered by the user or the theft hasn’t been reported to the police then it is much more difficult for us to establish this.

Of the phones for which we do have details, one handset was stolen from a lady in Weston. It was not insured and she was tied in to a three year contract paying £30 per month. She would have had to carry on paying this for another two and a half years.

The Weston mobile phone was worth around £300 and another handset worth £350, stolen in Stevenage just weeks after it was purchased, was also found in the haul.

Police are urging people not only to report any phone thefts but also to supply the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number when reporting it to make it easier to identify. They are also encouraging people to register their phones on the Immobilise website, which is used by all police forces to check the property they recover.

Mike said:

Mobile phone theft accounts for around six per cent of total crime in the area. Most thefts are from walk-in home thefts, pick pocketing or walk-in thefts to shops or other public locations.

We are keen to crack down on this kind of crime and would encourage everyone to make sure they have recorded the details of their phones so that it is easier for us to trace the owner of a phone and return it to them if it is stolen.”

A mobile phone’s IMEI number can be found behind the battery of the phone or provided by the network provider or by keying *#06# on the phones keypad.

To register your phone so that it can be listed in case of loss or theft visit www.immobilise.com

To read the source press release go to: Avon and Somerset Police

Stay Crime-Free at Glastonbury Fesitval

‘Register your phone with Immobilise’ is the message from police to revellers headed to Glastonbury Festival next week.

With the gates to Glastonbury Festival opening in just a matter of days around 177,000 people will be travelling to Pilton, many of them with mobile phones, digital cameras, iPods and cash in their pockets.

And while the majority of these people will have little more to worry about than what band to watch previous year’s experience suggests that a small number may become victims of crime.

While crime remains low at Glastonbury Festival, there was a rise in thefts from tents last year – particularly in the first two days of the event – and mobile phones proved to be a particular target.

As a result police are this year urging Glastonbury-goers to register their mobile phones and other essential valuables on the Immobilise Database, before heading to the event, so if they are lost or stolen they can more easily be returned to their owners.

The best advice for not getting your stuff stolen while you are at the festival is not to take it with you – but if you do have to take it – make sure its stored securely and wherever possible make use of the festival’s free property lock-ups available throughout the site.

Police will be at the festival, both in uniform and undercover, on horseback, cycles, and on foot to deter any potential criminals but there are also lots of simple things which you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible and reduce the chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Sergeant Kerry Williams said:

Crime at Glastonbury Festival is low and the crimes that do happen can be easily prevented. We’re urging people to plan carefully ahead of this year’s festival and leave any unnecessary valuables at home. However if they do need to take the items with them make sure they are registered on the Immobilise Database and are stored securely by making use of the free property lock-ups.

I would also urge people not to leave anything valuable unattended in their tents and I’d recommend marking their property, which can both deter thieves and help to show who the rightful owner is.

To read the source article in full please go to: Avon and Somerset Police