Tracking a Cell Phone Thief: How to Track Your Stolen Cell Phone and How to Catch the Thief

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One of our most often-read articles is What to Do if you’ve Lost Your Cell Phone or Your Cell Phone is Stolen, which tells us that this is an issue for a lot of people.

That article gives a lot of great general information, and it concludes with advising that you be sure to have your cell phone provider turn your cell phone off if you believe it to be stolen.

This is still good advice, but there is one situation in which you may not want to have it turned off right away, and that is the situation where the thief is using your cell phone to make and receive calls, and/or to send and receive text messages.

Let me tell you a story – a true story – of someone who is facing jail time right now because during a burglery they stole a cell phone. And, as their victim declared, they had messed with the wrong person.

You see, immediately after stealing the cell phone, the thief started using the cell phone. They used it a lot, and they used it to both make telephone calls, and to send text messages, to a lot of different people. In fact, from the time they started using the phone, at about midnight of the night of the crime, they used it continuously for about 8 hours, then they took a break of a few hours (presumably to sleep) and then they started using it again!

 

Now, as it happens, the person to whom that cell phone belonged happens to work in the Internet security industry. And so they knew that if that thief was using their cell phone, that they would be creating a trail. So the first thing they did when they discovered that the cell phone had been stolen was to call their cell carrier, and ask “have there been any calls or text messages made with this phone since the time it was stolen?”

And, as it happened, there had already been several calls made.

Now, I know all this because that person was me. That’s right, my car was broken into, and among other things that were stolen was one of my cell phones.

And, as I said, they had messed with the wrong person.

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So, when my cell carrier, upon hearing that my phone had been stolen, urged me to let them cancel the service, I refused.

Why?

Because I knew this guy was creating a perfect trail through which the police would be able to track him down. And I was going to give him enough rope to hang himself. Every time he made a call – or sent a text message – with my phone, he was creating another link in the chain that was going to lead back to him.

So instead of letting them shut the phone service off, I had them leave it on through the following night, and I spent the entire night reviewing all of the call records – the records of each and every call and text message he’d made since first stealing the phone.

I was able to do this because my carrier has an online web portal which shows your current billing, line by line – including all numbers to which calls and texts are made, or from which they are received – in real time.

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Tracking a Cell Phone Thief: How to Track Your Stolen Cell Phone and How to Catch the Thief

In all, the thief contacted about a dozen different individuals using my phone. By the time the next morning arrived, I’d been able to construct a timeline of every single call and text he’d madeand to whom (I did this using a service to which I have access that will (for a fee) tell you to whom a phone number is registered).

That following morning I walked into the police station to file my report, and handed them 5 pages of details, including a timeline showing every single call and text he’d made or received and when, how long each call lasted, and to whom each number was registered.

From there it was a simple matter for the police to follow up with the individuals to whom each number was registered.

I’m sure those people didn’t appreciate their friend implicating them like that, and they were happy to tell the police exactly who had made those calls and sent those texts to them.

And he has now been charged with theft and felony trespass, and is facing hard jail time.

Now, a couple of things to bear in mind:

1. Leaving your phone up and running if it has been stolen can be risky, which is why in our What to Do if you’ve Lost Your Cell Phone or Your Cell Phone is Stolen article, we advise that you have your stolen phone turned off, and why all of the cell carriers will urge you to do the same. So you really have to weigh the risks versus the benefits, and this will depend entirely on several factors, such as how much personal data is on your phone, your phone plan, and more.

2. If you decide that you want to attempt to trace your stolen cell phone like this, the first thing to do upon realizing that it has been stolen is to determine if it’s being used to make calls and text messages. All of the major carriers have websites that will allow you to log into your account and look at the calls that have been made. If it’s not being used, there’s no point in leaving it up and running. Also, if you have banking, other financial information, or other sensitive information, on your phone, don’t risk leaving your phone turned on. Have it turned off – but do ask your service provider to first tell you if any calls have been made on it since the theft, so you can get that information before having it turned off.

3. Even though as an attorney I had access to the service which will tell you to whom a phone number is registered, that service is available to anybody willing to pay for it. The service I used (and no, this is not an affiliate link) was ReversePhoneDetective.com.

If you are reading this article, the odds are good that you have had your cell phone stolen. We hope that this helps you to bring some resolution to your situation, however you decide to pursue it.

  
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? Thank you!

Tracking a Cell Phone Thief: How to Track Your Stolen Cell Phone and How to Catch the Thief

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37 Replies to “Tracking a Cell Phone Thief: How to Track Your Stolen Cell Phone and How to Catch the Thief”

  1. Lost my Nokia 5130 c-2 xpressmusic IMEI no. 354223034873794. Please track it and block it. It’s a GREAT request…

  2. i am kailash sangshetty kareappa.ilost my phone in Aadat line Udgir,dist.Latur,Maharashtra.ithink some one has stolen my phone over there bcoz i can here my phone sounds there so i wan track it over there plz help me as it is the gift from my father and it contains some imp. matters so plz help me recovering my phone back to me………….please help me
    nokia 5130 c2 (expressmusic)
    purchase date 16/01/2010
    IMEI:358293030447501
    Cont.No.9975953211,02385256064

  3. dear sir one main abused me in new mobile number and switch off his sim how can i get his emie no.

  4. Pls help me .i lost my n73me in viet nam.my imel 351851019404376.pls send me the mobile number that is using my phone.

  5. I have lost my SAMSUNG STAR WIFI ( MODEL NO: S 5233 W) phone having IMEI no: 355471030875391
    Mobile no: 9924525939 ( Idea service provider)
    Please let me know the traced details on paresh.gujarati@gmail.com or call on 9824521003

  6. Hay friend,
    I was lost my mobile nokia 5130 and its IMEI 356413019022156. pls help me. If able to get it pls contact with my ID rajeesh20008@gmail.com

  7. good morning sir my name is francis i have one mobile and new mobile.yesterday some please drinker drive the auto they was asked me please if you want auto me please come into the auto charges only lbnagar to uppal 5 rupess they was told . like that my mobile was yesterday missed they are thief they dicided whatever it may be thieft my mobile sir onething am poor in english am understood but i cant properly in english . please kind help me i hope you can doing .onething sir whenever my mobile i immediatly i was airtel custermer care i i was told please close the imei number and sim block the card like that i said. if i want that mobile i can recived it please give me your valeabel suggestion. i waiting you reply ok bye .

  8. i too have lost my cell phone which was gifted to me by my brother, a cellphone doesn’t only matters money but also emotions that are related to it, samsung provides mobile traker in its each & every handset but the reputated company like nokia doen’t even in it’s multimedia handsets, doesn’t matters if you can’t, but i think it must atleast provide a site which could trace it by the imei no. of handset.

  9. I have lost My HTC Touch Diamond P3490 with the IMEI no.355304027816328. kindly help me find it..i’ll be grateful..thanx
    Contact No. 09310593369

  10. i hav lost my htc p3400i pls trace it
    wad info i shd giv regardin da phone…i hav takn the sim frm it so it was lost empty..

  11. Lost my Nokia 5130 c-2 xpressmusic IMEI no. 356040032403384. Please track it and block it. It’s a GREAT request…

  12. mobile missing pl block the Imei
    Lost mobile phone on 28/01/2009

    I lost my mobile phone Nokia 7210 Black IMEI No.353180035058299 with Post paid sim card.Please take action and block the thief from using it or reselling it.

    My name: Ravindra Dubey, D-156, HTPP Colony, Korba(C.G.)495451

  13. i have lost my nokia N73, how can i got it back please help me.
    its IMEI no. 355718026692994

  14. hello sir, i lost my samsung s3653 corby[orange]mobile phone today..its imei no is 358039032113132..can you please track it down and tell me ..my e mail is rvdev_2@yahoo.co.in.i would be really grateful to you.please consider my request as this mobile is very important to me i bought this mobile from my first salary.
    please sir do it very soon.

  15. my mobile phone was stolen in England it’s a Samsung GT-S5230 Toco lite
    The IMEI is:356712035191196
    please help me get my phone back!
    Thanks :)

  16. i lost my cell phone its nokia E63 and its IMEI-356939031329302 PLEASE HELP ME how can i get it as soon as

  17. sir , i am loss my mobile nokia6233 at kurnool bustand in andra pradesh,i dont know IMEI No, i know the mobile no +919885845261 vodafone network , it is given by friend as a gift so it sentiment for me , so please help me in recovering my mobile as soon as possible.
    thanking you sir,

  18. My Lg Xexon was stolen. Help me find it Please. My phones number is 970- 948-5416. You can contact my at 984 2938.

  19. i am pradeep .ilost my phone in chennai SRM univ.i think some one has stolen my phone over there bcoz i can here my phone sounds there so i wan track it over there plz help me as it is the gift from my grand father and it contains some imp. matters so plz help me recovering my phone back to me………….

  20. my nokia 5130 had been stolen. its IMEI NO. is 356040032521216
    plz help on contact 9011076087

  21. My new nokia 5130c- 2 red mobile is stolen my IMEI:356908037279225 pl. find it & contact me on mobile no.09391164960

  22. My new nokia 5130c- 2 red mobile is stolen my IMEI:358229037737791 pl. find it & contact me on mobile no.9320570747

  23. A friend of mine did have records of whom the thief who took his phone called, and he contacted the police about it, but they basically told him they did not have time to bother with it.

  24. ok, so all this would be helpful, but i have a Pantech Slate, u can lock the fone so wen i went to school one morning, i locked my fone, put it in my purse, and got out of my mom’s car. i then went to school and i put my purse in my locker and went to lunch. wen i went home that day i was looking for my purse and it wasnt in my purse! so i started to panic and my mom and my sister called it and it went straight to voicemail, so the theif had turned off my fone. then,the next day, i talked to my principal and he sed that he would check the cameras.that afternoon i went to his office and it turns out, the camera was facing the wrong way!!! so then we called it again and it sed “im sorry. the person u r trying to reach does not want to be disturbed.” or something like that. so, now i think they have taken out the SIM card. but the sheriff is going to come in tomorrow and i am also offering a reward. IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET MY FONE BACK?? CAN I TRACE THE FONE AT ALL?? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT MY BABY BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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