Cell Phone Trafficking: A Serious Crime
What is cell phone trafficking?
Flying under the radar is a complex network of traffickers. They don’t deal in guns or drugs. Instead, they deal in prepaid, unlocked cell phones for use on networks for which the phones were not intended. Traffickers buy discounted cell phones in bulk and steal subsidies from wireless carriers. The offenders then unlock the phones or hack into the proprietary software, a process also known as cell phone jailbreaking, so the phones can be reflashed and used on any wireless network. Traffickers also use armed robbery, burglary, identity theft, and all sorts of illegal conduct and fraudulent schemes to get their hands on cell phones.
Gray market traffickers resell phones to consumers at a considerable profit. Unsuspecting customers in the United States and around the world buy these “new” mobile phones that are often resold in counterfeit cell phone packaging. Traffickers profit by stealing the financial incentives (in the form of subsidies, rebates, leases, and installment billing discounts) that were supposed to benefit legitimate consumers.
Cell Phone Hacking: A Risky Business
You may think that buying phones in bulk, jailbreaking or unlocking cell phones, and selling them for profit is harmless. But cell phone trafficking not only hurts consumers and wireless providers, it also promotes street crime, armed robberies, and other illegal activity traffickers use to obtain phones put everyone at risk. Reflashed cell phones are often sold to dangerous people who use them to carry out heinous crimes. Gray market cell phone trafficking profits have been known to fund terrorism. Unauthorized hacking or resale of prepaid cell phones can also result in jail time for you.
Cell Phone Trafficking Harms Everyone
Cell phone hacking and trafficking doesn’t just affect U.S. wireless carriers. All around the world, people pay for cell phone trafficking in a variety of ways.
Cell Phone Trafficking in the News
Read our coverage about cell phone trafficking and what law enforcement and the wireless industry are doing to combat this global issue.