For Sale Online: Your Cell Phone Records

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As if people don’t have enough to worry about what with social security number and credit card information being compromised and brokered right and left, it turns out that there is a thriving business in selling cell phone records. Your cell phone records.

And it turns out that it’s dead easy to do, too.


Find it hard to believe? Well, don’t. Take, for example, this sales blurb from Private Investigator Carlos Anderson’s websote, Anderson-PI.com:

“You provide the cell phone number, billing name and address if available; we will provide All Detailed Calls from the most recent available monthly billing statement with dates, times, and duration; or the statement month requested. Return time 1-5 business days via E-mail.”

And Anderson is just one of several online sites offering such services. LocateCell.com has an entire section they call their “cell catalog”, which includes such services as “Find Anyone’s Current Cell Phone Number” ($95.00), “Reverse Cell Phone Number” ($65.00), and, yes, “Call Records From Cell Phone Number” ($110.00).

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“But,” you are surely thinking, “this must be illegal?”

Well, yes and no. Certainly there are contexts in which it is not (such as a legal investigation). However, according to experts, it is not legal to simply acquire someone’s cellular phone records without some sort of authority. But that obviously doesn’t stop it from happening. And while the acquiring itself may be illegal, there is some debate as to whether once acquired, it’s actually illegal to sell them.

Part of the problem, says Robert Douglas, a security consultant and former private investigator, is that “Information security by carriers to protect customer records is practically nonexistent and is routinely defeated.”

 

And while cellular carriers claim that not to be the case, there seem to be at least three well-established ways that someone seeking such information can get it: to develop a relationship with an employee inside the carrier’s offices (greased well with cash, of course), to hack into the customer’s account online, or to call the carrier pretending to be the customer and get the information directly.

Of course, the last method is the easiest. Sites which offer to obtain such records for customers ask for the cell number, the cell customer’s name, their address, and where possible their social security number. With all of that information, there’s little to stop anyone from calling the cell provider and getting full customer records. And with social security numbers and other private information being compromised right and left these days, it’s looking more like the only way to keep your cell phone records from being made available to anyone who wants them is to not have them in the first place.

Prepaid celllular, anyone?

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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One thought on “For Sale Online: Your Cell Phone Records

  1. Great article. Very scary stuff. Now they can spy, even easier, on me. I don’t like it at all. The line at the end really got to me. And, in the next week, I’m getting prepaid service with net10.

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