The Argentine government has launched a website to track stolen phones, which you can check out here. Ah the Internet, yet another reason to write that thank you note to Al Gore.
The new service launched by the National Communication Entity (Enacom) works by tracking a cell phone’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which is a 15-digit code that every cell phone has usually printed behind the battery, and putting that phone on a blacklist that is updated once a day. The stolen phone will not be able to reconnect to the cellular service if and when it is resold. (Phone operators automatically have the IMEI because it registers with them the first time the phone connects to cellular service).
This latest measure is meant to discourage people from selling stolen phones since buyers can check their origins by accessing the website.
There are a few caveats, though: the phone will not be able to connect to cell service but it can be used for all other activities such as Facebook, Snapchat, Angry Birds, and other essential life functions. In addition, the buyer cannot check the IMEI code beforehand as the seller can supply a false one. They must have the phone in hand and enter *#06# to check. Try it now, just like magic!
According to the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), some 5,000 phones are stolen every day in Argentina. We recommended that you install a kill switch on your phone, which prevents thieves from wiping the data for resale by requiring a password.