Manufacturers label cell phones with an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, and they should always be unique to every device. That allows carriers to blacklist stolen phones, and police to track phones when necessary. But in India, Police discovered that 13,000 Vivo phones share the same IMEI.
The problem began when an officer in Meerut India had his Vivo phone repaired at an official repair shop. He noticed that the phone’s IMEI didn’t match the IMEI listed on the box, and it wouldn’t connect properly to the network. That led to further investigations and the discovery of over 13,000 Vivo phones, all sharing the same IMEI numbers.
In India, and elsewhere in the world, IMEI fraud is illegal but still prevalent. Phones without an IMEI or a shared IMEI are commonplace on the black market, as they are harder to track and difficult to blacklist from a network. Last year, police found an additional 50,000 Vivo phones with the same IMEI but traced the problem back to a single repair shop.
Akhilesh N. Singh, Additional Superintendent of Police in Meerut, said “Prima facie, it appears to be negligence on part of the mobile phone company, and criminals can use it to their advantage.”
For its part, Vivo hasn’t commented on the news. But if and when it does, we’ll update this post with that information.
via Android Police