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Thread: Stolen phone tracking and MEID/ESN

  1. #1
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    Stolen phone tracking and MEID/ESN

    Hi all,

    My girlfriend had her car broken into, and among several items, her PP/Verizon phone (Samsung Fascinate, rooted with Cyanogen 9) was stolen. She's attempted to retrieve her MEID/ESN from PP, but they said they will not release that information to her. Does anybody have any suggestions how she might determine what her MEID/ESN is? Can Verizon instead disclose that information if she were to call them (since technically she's using their network), or will such a request by her require a subpeona from the police department who took the report?

    Also, PP will confirm the cell phone is being used (so far) for internet usage, but they will not tell her which towers and/or what the location of the phone is (or they are not able, my girlfriend wasn't sure). Is there any way, aside from trying to install an app remotely (like Plan B or AndroidLost, both of which haven't activated yet) to locate the phone? Can Verizon perform this action for a stolen phone, or again, will a subpeona be needed, and even then, is it possible?

    Thanks to all who can help. If we can pinpoint the phone, we can call the police, and have them retrieve it, and perhaps some or all of what was stolen (about $2000 worth of stuff), and make them liable for the repairs to her car.

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure about P+ but shouldn't the phone's meid be listed on the account section? Can you get into the account? I know that on Boost mobile, in their account section your meid is listed on the site itself. I'm sorry. Hope someone can help you.

  3. #3
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    Kolosus...I was thinking the same thing a little while ago, and checked my account, and the MEID is not available. Thanks for the suggestion though.

  4. #4
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    Have you spoken to the police (they should have assigned the case to a detective, or at a minimum the burglary division). I'm pretty naive about this stuff but wouldn't you expect the police to contact PP or Verizon so they could maybe catch the bad guys?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty913 View Post
    Have you spoken to the police (they should have assigned the case to a detective, or at a minimum the burglary division). I'm pretty naive about this stuff but wouldn't you expect the police to contact PP or Verizon so they could maybe catch the bad guys?
    Police don't chase bad guys anymore, well at least not the phone thief variety.
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  6. #6
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    I was thinking more about the $2,000 of other stuff plus it may be just one of a rash of similar cases. I agree they wouldn't bother with a cell phone heist. Maybe you could lie and tell them your address book has a listing of all the doughnut shops in the state.

  7. #7
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    The local sheriff was contacted immediately following the incident. My gf has since contacted the officer so we can have them subpeona PP for MEID/ESN and location/tower information (or Verizon if they can perform location services), but he's not called back to confirm his intentions. And you're correct...the reason we want to track the phone's location is to attempt to find my girlfriend's stolen items, and have whomever arrested for the theft and vandalism. The sheriff's officer did say there has been similar activity at the same location, so it would be helpful to them if we pursue this to the fullest extent possible. My girlfriend has confirmed the phone was connected to the network for data usage totaling about 300 minutes of connect time after it was stolen, but no calls have yet been made (I'm sure they know that would be stupid to do). If the phone was actually in their possession during the entire 300 minutes, there may be some valuable location information. I've queued some apps to install remotely to locate the phone, but it doesn't appear to have been on since the last data connection ended (battery likely died, and it hasn't been recharged, or the phone was tossed to the side of the road). In any event, the sheriff has bene notified, and we're awaiting his call.

  8. #8
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    Subpoena or not Pageplus will (should) force you to prove you are the owner of the phone to get the ESN. Giving something like that out without documented proof of ownership for whatever reason would be a terrible business practice and could compromise customers' accounts or allow them to be hijacked. And that goes double for providing information like the location of said phones which could put a person's safety into question if an unauthorized party gained that knowledge

    This is prepaid and since no personal information is tied to these accounts things like ESN records should be kept on hand by the owners and not be the responsibility of the company to provide should the user lose or have their phone stolen unless they meet stringent criteria.

    There should be a high bar set to get the sort of info you are looking for so while I hope you recover your property I am glad it wasn't as easy as a couple calls and a good backstory for Page Plus to give it to you.

    The app idea is the right way to go but people who may want to recover lost of stolen phones should take this situation as a lesson that the investment in those programs needs to be made before the situations happen.

  9. #9
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    icebook...I agree with everything you say. The reasons PP will not release the MEID without some type of official/legal documentation are pretty obvious, and I made no judgement regarding their refusal to disclose that information. It might have been nice if they provided the MEID/ESN via one's online account as that requires the owner's input to create in the first place, and it's 'relatively' secure (no more or less than most online accounts), but again, it's pretty clear why PP won't do it over the phone, nor without official/legal confirmation. It's much the same with usage/location information, I know. In that regard, I was more interested if PP or Verizon has the CAPABILITY to perform tower/gps location services since my gf seemed to think PP was indicating they cannot, even with a subpeona. I'm thinking E911 mandates.

    With respect to having this type of information handy somewhere else, like at home, in a filing cabinet, a safe, etc...go tell that to my girlfriend. She might actually listen to you. :-) Seriously, I learned years back to 'suggest' something to her ONE TIME and ONE TIME only! After that, she's on her own. Did I suggest to her to keep her MEID and other important phone/os/app information? Absolutely. I even wrote everything down for her in a spreadsheet, along with a suggestion she put it in a safe location. She doesn't even recall I did her the favor, and the file has been long ago deleted by somebody. That's consistent with her organizational style. Hence, her current situation. The same applies to the security apps, but she never installed the apps I suggested (and have installed on mine). I even asked her as soon as we discovered the phone was taken if she had anything installed I could have used right then and there to locate her phone (or at any time afterwrds when it was turned on for data usage), but that's when I learned she never installed them. Too bad too. We could have had some truly useful information gathered during the 300+ minutes they had the phone on. By the time I was able to attempt remote installations after the fact, it was too late as they haven't had the phone on since. I'm still crossing my fingers something happens that allows me to gather some location info though.

    Thanks for your input. Consistent with my stance. I was simply curious if PP or Verizon had the capability to locate phones given they have been provided the legal recourse to do so.

  10. #10
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    FWIW The dealer that you activated it through might have record of the ESN.
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  11. #11
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    So as a lesson for the wider audience, I should write down my MEID? One of my neighbors had his car "broken into" (it wasn't locked) and he just went to the store and showed them the police report. They told him that it was probably kids since they were downloading ring tones. I doubt that there was any action pursued after the phone was disconnected.

    As far as phones tied to the customer? Every time I buy minutes, my credit card info is noted. The only way to avoid that is to buy a card from a local dealer and pay cash. So unless you are doing that, don't fool yourself into thinking you have privacy.

    I did have a prepaid phone where I had privacy. I bought it in a store for cash and I paid for cards with cash. I didn't port any numbers and I didn't do any of the stuff people say can be done with a phone, like sign up for Google anything.
    Last edited by vey9; 08-01-2012 at 07:36 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extraordinary View Post
    FWIW The dealer that you activated it through might have record of the ESN.
    She activated through PP directly.

  13. #13
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    If she's using an android device & has a google account linked to it, the MEID will be saved in the Dashboard.
    To access it:

    Go to account settings
    Click the "Profile & Privacy" tab
    Scroll down to the bottom & click on "Sign in to Dashboard"

    There's a section labled "Android Devices" that will show all previously linked Android phones.
    It should tell you your MEID, last-activity-seen Date, & the date registered

    Hope this helps, good luck ^_^

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    Just noticed the part where you stated "...didn't sign up to google..." -_-

  15. #15
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    I read somewhere else online that you should have the MEID number written down or in a file saved elsewhere not on the phone in case your phone ever gets lost or stolen.

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