The concept of making everyone register their handset in the UK is greatly misunderstood and is being hyped up by the press. Did you know that any contract mobile phone owner’s information can already be accessed by the Police using either a request under the RIPA or DPA procedures? So why should be people using PAYG phones not be subject to the same system? this is all this is about and it closes a loophole used by criminals that make it harder for the Police to identify stolen handsets or handsets used in connection with dubious activities. The only argument surely is whether the owner’s information is subject to the safeguards afforded by RIPA. If you use the DVLA registration of cars as a proof of concept, the Police can tap in your registration number and see the owner’s details in a heartbeat without having to make any formal requests so why not do the same with mobile phones?
For those of you who have heard about it, but wondered what CheckMEND is and how it came about I thought I would give you the low down on why and how it all began.
Lost my phone!
In 2000 I lost my phone on the London Underground and went to the lost property office to try to find it. However, I was then faced with the task of providing a serial number or what we also know as the IMEI number. But in 2000 no one had really heard of what an IMEI number was let alone know their own!
Anyway after eventually finding my IMEI number and recovering my phone, I realised that all modern consumer electronic products have a unique serial number and that without them there was little way of distinguishing one item from another. Thus, I formed the idea that there was a need in the market for a pre-loss or theft registration service containing these serial numbers.
Previous career path
My career has always involved providing services to the consumer, back in 2000, at the age of 40; I sold my chain of restaurants, bars and leisure facilities, with the aim of taking early retirement and relaxing after a very full working life… until the idea for CheckMEND hit me.
I decided to start up a company called Recipero (latin meaning to retain or recover), with a view to building a company that provided a range of products and services based on the accumulation, organisation and analysis of information relating to personal property ownership, associated criminality, fraud and illegal trading.
The simple pre-loss registration database:
The starting point was with a simple pre-loss registration database, but it quickly became apparent that there was value in the analysis of the data and potential to provide HPI-type data for consumer electronics. This was reinforced at the time with the explosion of online auction sites and the willingness of people to buy and sell second-hand goods online. All at the same time as the huge increase in the theft of mobile phones and other mobile devices such as laptops, ipods and the like.
The next three years was spent populating the MEND data warehouse and building partnerships across the mobile industry, with the likes of Carphone Warehouse and mobile phone networks. The police forces were also a vital partner for me.
Eventually, the system grew and now contains billions of pieces of discrete information and is accessed over a million times a month by the mobile phone industry, all UK Police forces, major insurers, the second hand trade, recyclers and the public.
CheckMEND.com was launched in 2006 and the CheckMEND database is now used extensively by second hand trade and the public the most common use of CheckMEND by the general public is for when they are buying or selling items from online auction sites like ebay.
Taking it international:
I can now safely say the company is well established and we are starting to focus on business outside the UK. 2008 will see two new launches for CheckMEND.com. One in the US, which the Recipero and CheckMEND teams are extremely excited about, with the U.S. being the largest market for consumer electronics. Not only that, we have already begun the process of launching in Asia too.
Obviously the road to where we are today didn’t all run as smoothly as suggested above, many a challenge was faced and problem overcome, but this is the CheckMEND story… so far…
Have a look at the youtube video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zcm9VFNvuQ
Following our last post on £5 billion stolen goods for sale online, it seems that online auction sites are taking the heat, but as Identity Resolution Daily points out, if they reduce, what is termed as e-fencing – selling stolen goods online – they will lose most of their revenue.
However, if these auction sites ignore the statistics, and continue to allow themselves to be marketplaces for selling ‘stolen goods’ will mean that they will soon become high profile case studies for us. Beware – You will get caught
There has been much discussion within the mobile tech community on whether CheckMEND is a good deal which our very own bat phone cleared up:
Hi, just to let you know CheckMEND ‘trade’ account is such only because that’s who they think would be interested in it. In fact the vat number and co number are optional at registration and they only thing ‘trade’ about it is a minimum £25 worth of checks purchased at registration. At the moment though you get 50 checks for this so paying only £0.50 instead of £2.99 for your first fifty checks and only £1 per check after that.
Of course reselling checks is against the terms and all your certificates will have the account holders details on so giving them away becomes awkward too but if you may check several phones in future (the credits never expire) it’s a good deal.
Declaration: I work for the parent company but this isn’t an advert, I just want to put right the misunderstanding about trade accounts. I’ll pass on the confusion and perhaps the web guys will modify the website.
We have some hard hitting facts for you, collated from our CheckMEND database.
- Of the £5bn Stolen goods for sale online, it is estimated that £2.6bn of that can be attributed to mobile phones
- Of all the checks carried out on CheckMEND over the last 18 months 67% were made on mobile phones. Which equates to 6,700,000 checks made through CheckMEND, were to check the IMEI number of a mobile phone
- Out of every town in the UK you are most likely to be sold a stolen mobile phone in Leicester
CheckMEND has identified 3,522 stolen handsets in the last 23 days, that’s 153 a day and from these checks, it indicates the place you are most likely to be offered a stolen phone in order of likelihood are:
Greater London – Finsbury Park, North London –600 policemen arrested 70 people!
The Nokia N95 is the most checked phone as it is the top end of the price range for second hand phones, so watch out n95 users…
After registering your property stolen your information will be fed to our CheckMEND database and we can stop all e-fencing criminals from re-selling your property.