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IMEI and the law IMEI is the abbreviation for International Mobile Equipment Identity. You can look at the IMEI number as the serial number of your cellular phone, just as in the serial number of cars, scooters and weapons. You can find this serial number at the following places: On a white tag with a barcode at the side of the original box of your cellular phone On a white sticker, often with barcode, underneath the battery, By typing in *#06# in your cellular phone. An IMEI number always contains 15 numbers and it's unique for every cellular phone. Because of this the IMEI number is competent as the recognition point of your cellular phone. A cellular phone is a wanted object and therefore it's clever to registrate your IMEI number at the police, you provider or the insurance company (you often have to registrate your IMEI number to make sure your cellular phone is insuranced) and also at your home.
When your cellular phone is stolen the police can send a SMS bomb with the help of your IMEI number. This SMS bomb says: "This cellular phone is stolen, go to the police". Because of this bomb it's impossible for a thieve to sell this cellular phone because the client will notice that it's not safe to buy it.
Perhaps you will think that when another SIM-card is put into the stolen cellular phone the SMS bombing will stop. This isn't true. Next to the cellular telephone number (that's bound to the SIM-card) the telephone always emits an IMEI number with which the provider can see which telephone is calling. A provider cannot only send an SMS to cellular phone numbers, but also to IMEI numbers. The IMEI number stays the same when another SIM-card is put into your cellular phone, therefore the IMEI number is a good security.
The drawback: Big criminals aren't frightened away by an IMEI number. You can assume that big criminals possess software with an IMEI calculator with which they can change the IMEI number into an IMEI number that's not on the black list. However, the basic rule is: The tougher you make it for a thieve, the better.