How to Block IMEI of Stolen Phone? Everything You Need to Know
Overview: In case your phone is lost or stolen, then there is a high chance that it can be misused. Further, the IMEI number of your lost device can be hacked if it falls into wrong hands. Considering the importance of IMEI numbers, this post aims to discuss how to block IMEI of stolen phones or lost smartphone(s) with the necessary details.
Every cell phone or smartphone in the world comes with a unique IMEI or International Mobile Equipment Identity number. It serves as the digital fingerprint of the electronic device. That means no two phones have the same IMEI numbers.
Importance of IMEI Number
IMEI is a 15-digit number and it is unique to each device. Mobile manufacturers and service providers are able to track the phone details & maintain its record by referring to this number. Plus, the IMEI number is used to verify the authenticity of the device.
Mobile networks may also identify legitimate devices using the IMEI number, and they can even remotely prevent a stolen phone from connecting to their network. In the event that a mobile phone is stolen, the network provider may ban the device as per instructions using its IMEI number. As a result, the handset is rendered worthless because it can no longer connect to that network and possibly other networks as well.
Apart from that police officials & Cyber Experts also use IMEI numbers to trace the digital footprints of a stolen or lost device.
So, the IMEI number plays an important role in the mobile world.
Now, if you thought of the stolen phone case from the security point of view, the below question must have crossed your mind.
Can Your IMEI Number of Stolen/Lost Phone be Hacked?
The answer is YES and some criminal cases came to light with reference to IMEI numbers being hacked. As per the news reported in The Times of India, the Government Railway Police crime branch booked an accused under the Indian Telegraph Act for changing the IMEI numbers of stolen phones.
As a matter of fact, some phones apparently allow changing the IMEI. Like the police official said, the phone thieves have certain methods to alter the unique number of the phone. And, it goes like this – snatches smartphones, alters IMEI, and re-sells to potential customers.
However, the question is, how exactly they are changing the IMEI? Let’s have a look at their process.
- Once they steal a phone, they would unlock the pattern lock & access the device data.
- Then, clear the data including cache & cookies using a software.
- After that, they connect the phone to a device that changes the IMEI number electronically.
As you can see with mere effort, the IMEI number of a stolen phone can be changed. So, it becomes necessary to block this unique number in case your mobile is stolen or lost.
But, Why do you need to block IMEI of stolen phone?
Understand the Necessity of Blocking IMEI Number
Well, the first reason is to protect your device’s IMEI number from being altered which is clear from the previous section.
Secondly, to keep yourself at a distance from legal issues. Let’s understand this with an example. Suppose you lost your mobile or someone stole it and when the police catch the thief, it first seizes the phone and finds out the phone details using the IMEI number. That means they will get to know that the phone is registered under your name. So, in case you didn’t file any complaint regarding your stolen phone, you could face severe legal consequences.
Hence, when you realize that your cell phone is not in your possession anymore, register a complaint against it at your local police station. Then, visit the official CEIR web portal to block IMEI of stolen phone.
Note: CEIR or Central Equipment Identity Register is the Government of India initiative that helps citizens to block stolen/lost phones and unblock found mobiles.
How to Block IMEI of Stolen Phone?
There is a systematic process you need to follow. But before proceeding with the steps you need to make sure you have registered a complaint about your phone being stolen.
Prerequisites You Need:
- Copy of the police complaint
- Valid identity proof (Voter ID, Aadhar Card, Passport, etc)
- Invoice copy of the lost/stolen phone
- IMEI number of the lost/stolen phone (Optional)
Once you have all the prerequisites in place go the web portal of CEIR.
Here, you need to fill up 3 types of information.
- Device Information
- Lost Information
- Mobile Owner Personal Information
Here, you need to enter your mobile number. If your mobile supported dual SIM then you may enter your secondary number. Then, specify device brand and other information. For more clarity, refer to the below picture.
In this section, you need to mention the lost place, date, the state, district, police station detail, complaint number, etc. Then, attach the copy of the police complaint.
Mobile Owner Personal Information:
Here, you need to provide your personal details such as Name, Address, ID type, ID number, and mobile number.
Q. What happens when I block IMEI of stolen phone?
Once you fill in the necessary details, a blocking request will be generated. Then the user’s phone will be blocked within 24 hrs and it can’t be used in any network across India.
Q. Will I be able to unblock my phone?
Yes, you can unblock your phone once you find it yourself or is recovered by the police. You just need to provide the Request ID, Reason for unblocking, and Mobile number (to receive the OTP).
Q. Does the CEIR service available across the country?
The CEIR service is launched for limited states of the country. However, the department of telecommunication is working on the same to make it available throughout the country.
Q. Is there any way to check my block status?
Yes, you can check the status by entering the Request ID.