Does an Untraceable Cell Phone Exist?

by October 27, 2009 10/27/09

Cell Phone 01I’d like to share my attempt to find out if there’s any truth to obtaining an untraceable prepaid cell phone.

Now by untraceable I don’t mean being able to hide having it tracked when it’s powered on, I feel that’s kind of a no-brainer.

The signal could always be triangulated via cell towers, but this article is not meant to go into those details.

Untraceable in this sense means untraceable to a person, or anonymous use of a cell phone.

I have always been curious about prepaid, no-contract cell phones and decided the best way to learn about them was to buy one for myself.

Emergency Use

This journey started off with me wanting to get a prepaid backup cell phone on a different network than what I currently have.

In an emergency, I wanted to have a phone on a different network just in case mine went down.

When I finally got ready to make my purchase of a prepaid phone, I thought to myself, how easy is it for a criminal to gain access to a untraceable cell phone?

What if they paid in cash? Would there really be no record of who made the purchase?

All these thoughts started running through my head and causing tons of  ”what if” scenarios to play out.

With all the bad things that happen on a daily basis in our country, I was confident that prepaid cell phones weren’t something that could be used for the wrong reasons.

Surely there would be some kind of identification check, right?

Findings

The short answer is no. I’m going to leave out a lot of details in my findings, due to this being an open internet site.

I’m currently in the process of contacting the company to implore them to investigate what I’ve found though.

Is an untraceable cell phone possible, you bet it is. In my opinion, it’s a dangerous thing for literally anyone to have the ability to gain access to one.

However, I’m not a fan of regulation and don’t want this to turn into a political article, so lets just keep it at that.

Activation

With the particular prepaid phone I purchased, I had to buy my minutes separate from the phone, and those minutes were only good for 30 days once activated.

The phone also had to be activated from another phone (land-line or cell phone) or their Web site, before it was able to accept the minutes and allow calls to be placed.

Calling the activation number put me in touch with an operator working in a call center in India.

After I read the IMEI number from the phone I’d purchased and let the operator know my name and address, a phone number and area code was created based on the address I provided.

Essentially that was it, no other personal information was required, and I now had a working phone and 30 days to use my minutes.

If the phone account is not refilled within 30 days after the service end date, the phone number will be lost and a new one will be generated when the phone is reactivated.

I realized that to use my new prepaid phone for emergency purposes, I’d need to purchase an optional minute plan where the minutes never expired.

Having a card ready to load in an emergency wouldn’t be a good option, because I’d have to wait through the process of activating the minutes and potentially having my phone number changed.

Closing Remarks

The implications of an untraceable cell phone are fairly significant, and something that I feel should not be taken lightly.

While no real details were provided into how to make a cell phone untraceable back to the purchaser, it was fairly easy to figure out.

This is also an account of just one of the many prepaid providers out there, and is not a reflection of the majority.

What are your thoughts on the availability of phones like this? Do you consider them dangerous?


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EMC2
EMC2

No problem to buy a prepaid cell with bitcoin and if you're careful, it's easily made untraceable to you (or any real person). Just figure out an anonymous postal drop address.

See here for example: http://tradesmith.eu/

boss390gt
boss390gt

Having the opportunity to get a burner phone is absolutely all-right under the First Amendment and or Ninth Amendment....everyone including the criminal element.......free speech is protected by the U.S. Constitution for everyone......!

JadaDewey
JadaDewey

Look up Navarette v. California.  They just ruled that cops can make an exception to our 4th amendment rights that protect us from an unreasonable and warrantless searches and seizures based on an anonymous tip from an anonymous caller.  These prepaid phones make it possible for anyone with them, be it they are a prankster, an ex seeking revenge, or even a corrupt cop or his buddy who is helping him use this new loophole that prevents the cop from having to issue a warrant or have reasonable suspicion–– to justify pulling over anyone they want, searching their car, and seizing anything in their car. If anything illegal is found in that car, the full extent of the law can and will be used against the individual, and the seized evidence can be used against them in a court of law, state level and federal.  Pretty crazy huh?  So uh, if you have an ex that really did you dirrrrty, and you happen to know that he grows weed or sells drugs, then uh, there's your perfect revenge.  

NoRemorse
NoRemorse

"In my opinion, it’s a dangerous thing for literally anyone to have the ability to gain access to one."


If we aren't doing anything illegal, Privacy and Anonymity are OUR RIGHT! It's NONE of the government's business what I do with my phone, or what I say in my correspondence!! They can F____ off!


To answer the question "Should anyone be able to anonymously purchase and use a cell phone?" : ABSOLUTELY AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION!!!


One more thing: even if a person is able to anonymously purchase and activate the phone, it's still possible for the government to bug/wiretap the people it knows you're in contact with to get at you, and they could possibly also use a voice-print of yours to identify you. I speculate they could also possibly find out out what phone you are using by having some supercomputer look for a voice-print that matches yours, without recording the conversation, meaning that they would not be breaking any wiretapping laws.


So if you really wanted to be anonymous, I think you and your contact would need to both purchase and activate a phone anonymously, then share the phone numbers with each other in a non-electronically record-able low-tech. method (ie. word of mouth, paper, etc.), both use voice changers, and only pay for the prepaid cards in cash - and maybe also buy the cards in a store that doesn't record video of the transaction, or have an anonymous 3rd party buy them.



AND A BIG F___ YOU TO ANY PERSON, AGENCY, or ORGANIZATION WHO WANTS TO INTERFERE WITH OUR RIGHTS OR PRIVACY!!!

AnonymousPerson123
AnonymousPerson123

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”. - Ben Franklin (a founding father of the USA)

Untraceable Me
Untraceable Me

Tell me how a phone is untraceable if you have to register with name and address to get it activated?

And you won't want to use a credit card when you buy it.  Cash only.

The only way I see is to give them a false name and address when activating.

0321
0321

richardc3511 0321 Here, just in case your question was not answered properly this is the only way to have a truly untraceable phone. In fact, this company holds there encryption so near and dear to their heart that not even the U.S. can crack it. There is a hefty price to pay for privacy. $10,000 minimum. In addition you'll need more than one crypto phone for an encryption circuit to work. In comparison the phone it's self is encrypted so you wouldn't have to worry about it getting hacked, however, your calls could be intercepted via line of sight through static VHF or ionosphere HF frequency bands. Standard for that type of oeration. Lastly, this is a little tid bit from the retailer themselves copied and pasted from there website at  http://www.cryptophone.de/en/company/ god speed and following seas! GSMK is a leader in mobile voice and message security. Located in Berlin, Germany, the company develops, produces and markets the first mobile, satellite and desktop phones that provide strong end-to-end voice encryption with full source code published for review. GSMK CryptoPhones were the first products to take advantage of the fact that the CPU performance of portable consumer devices, like mobile phones and PDAs, is now sufficient for strong real-time voice encryption. The processing power that is available today in every pocket now makes it possible to effectively counter rampant telecommunications surveillance and targeted attacks on your sensitive information. We envision a day when strong, verifiable and trustworthy voice encryption in all mobile devices will be commonplace, just like strong encryption is in Internet routers today. Recent technological advances now finally allow every one of us to regain some of the privacy we lost. Widespread, uncontrolled wiretapping and privacy violations are currently threatening the business environment, civil liberties, and the very future of democratic societies. There seems to be no realistic way to stem by political process alone the current flood of intrusive communication surveillance, industrial espionage, and the risk for democratic institutions that comes with it. With the advent of GSMK CryptoPhones, strong cryptographic protection of confidential voice calls and messages has finally become available to a wide range of individuals, corporations, and institutions.

JessicaStaver
JessicaStaver

DesMalone Apologies, you were right on the first part of Scotts sentence, but you should have noticed at the last sentence the spelling mistake he made as well. If you are to act like the spelling police, then play the part right buddy.

JessicaStaver
JessicaStaver

DesMalone Bwahahaha, you are so wrong. The correct spelling should have been THEY'RE just what I'm looking for. There are a few ways to spell out the word that sounds the same but has different meanings. He meant THEY ARE just what I'm looking for. So maybe you could look through the dictionary a bit, eh?

ATT Go Phone Terroists
ATT Go Phone Terroists

We have ATT go phones for a long time (5-6 years)  Today we both got a billing message within 3-5 minutes of each other stating that a certain amount has been charged to the acct for a transaction.  However we have the really stupid flip phones, we don't use texting (we're old, retired and don't care to learn) and don't have a 'data plan'... I was concerned that the ATT network had been hacked, and we went to an ATT store.  Once they checked to see if we had been charged (we hadn't) I asked if the was a record of the transaction in THEIR database (our phones didn't have a record).  They said NO!!  I said I was concerned that a TERRORIST organization could hijack the ATT network, use the burner phones, send messages, and have NO RECORD of said message in the ATT database... The ATT saleswoman, who looked either middle eastern or Indian/Pakistan just gave me a vacant stare and fake smile and said we hadn't been charged.  When I left the store, a man walked in, wearing a terbin (India, Pakistan or ???)  I told my husband something about if we get bombed or another Terroist attack. his head turned back toward our direction with a kinda shook up look on his face... What to do???

ATT Go Phone Terroists
ATT Go Phone Terroists

We have ATT go phones for a long time (5-6 years)  Today we both got a billing message within 3-5 minutes of each other stating that a certain amount has been charged to the acct for a transaction.  However we have the really stupid flip phones, we don't use texting (we're old, retired and don't care to learn) and don't have a 'data plan'... I was concerned that the ATT network had been hacked, and we went to an ATT store.  Once they checked to see if we had been charged (we hadn't) I asked if the was a record of the transaction in THEIR database (our phones didn't have a record).  They said NO!!  I said I was concerned that a TERRORIST organization could hijack the ATT network, use the burner phones, send messages, and have NO RECORD of said message in the ATT database... The ATT saleswoman, who looked either middle eastern or Indian/Pakistan just gave me a vacant stare and fake smile and said we hadn't been charged.  When I left the store, a man walked in, wearing a terbin (India, Pakistan or ???)  I told my husband something about if we get bombed or another Terroist attack. his head turned back toward our direction with a kinda shook up look on his face... What to do???

tm0282
tm0282

@Jim Smith have you seen the latest from the good ol NSA? they now listen in on phone sex conversations by tagging words which one would use in said conversations. lol no joke

tm0282
tm0282

@Aziz please explain how me using an anonymous cell is a threat to national security? because that sounds like living in north korea or stalinist russia and i thought we americans prided ourselves on liberty, freedom, and privacy?

tm0282
tm0282

@Titan when you are correct only an idiot would attempt to flame you. trust me this article is only agreed with by fellow SS (state security) officers and the like, the ones that have 100x the indoctrination of the average american, the ones that "follow orders" and refuse to look at the world any other way than that they are told. the ideas of democrat and republican are only a game meant to keep us, the people, divided. the politics do not matter when every politician is working towards the same agenda. just ask yourself what were obamas main points when he was running for office... then ask yourself how many of those points happened or were even attempted? and then look back through history and see that it never mattered what they said it was all a smoke screen to give us, the people, the idea that we somehow had a voice, we don't and most likely never did. and if Citizens United has its way the spending limits for corporations will soon be removed and you will be able to flat out buy the election. its long been said politics are rigged but when that law changes how can anyone still argue that point is false? as long as we stand around yelling back and forth about who is best, dem or rep, we are playing right into their hands, divide and conquer.

tm0282
tm0282

@Kensi Marie Blye i take it you must have the idea of "hey, im not doing anything wrong therefore the government and all their state security alphabet soup agencies looking, listening, tracking, etc of me doesn't bother me at all and only those people up to no good would want privacy" and i don't know what it is about that idea that just makes me feel sick.

tm0282
tm0282

DesMalone what is the $45 mo unlimited plan? haven't seen that before...

tm0282
tm0282

@Cindy must be work'n for the taliban.

tm0282
tm0282

DesMalone wow thats all you got from that? i guess calling you puerile, truculent, or obnoxious might be a little much but i have the sense you were as happy as the village idiot to point out a misplaced "e". congrats youve have truley found sume meaning in youre life. work on that for awhile.  And to the GI JOE author pointing out that your oppressive and invasive government can not track your every move using an anonymous cell does not seem like something i thought this site would oppose... but at least it is nice to know where men like this stand on freedom and privacy (just for clarity he is against it). i just hope you keep in mind that you are just a human like the rest of us, nothing more.

richardc3511
richardc3511

All I wanted to do is have a cell phone w/ no contract, and prepaid minutes that would allow me to make occasional anonymous tests for primary use( nothing malicous) something like a tracfone ,walmart special, paid all in cash. Will this do the job, if your willing to toss it if you make more than sarcastic comments. I'm no a drug dealer ,thief , or even a little bit crooked !   Will it work ?                                                                                                                                                              Recon

richardc3511
richardc3511

All I wanted to do is have a cell phone w/ no contract, and prepaid minutes that would allow me to make occasional anonymous tests for primary use( nothing malicous) something like a tracfone ,walmart special, paid all in cash. Will this do the job, if your willing to toss it if you make more than sarcastic comments. I'm no a drug dealer ,thief , or even a little bit crooked !   Will it work ?

                                                                                                                                                             Recon

Jt
Jt

I'm Sorry that you are so fearful of untraceable phones.  If your interest is personal freedom and liberty, you'd have a different opinion.

Jt
Jt

I'm Sorry that you are so fearful of untraceable phones.  If your interest is personal freedom and liberty, you'd have a different opinion.

DesMalone
DesMalone

@No Name After reading though these posts and observations, it occurs to me that in the event anyone I know is ever gone missing, or vanishes, instead of calling the local cops who really have a modicum of experience or inclination to do real investigation, I think I'll just call the FBI and tell them that the missing person mumbled something about committing a political assassination on a leader/president/etc and disappeared with something that looked poisonous.  That way we can find out for sure just what kind of reach they have in finding someone they'd definitely want to find. And they'd have incentive to actually do it...using all their high tech equipment to find someone actually missing.

DesMalone
DesMalone

@scott toss in a dictionary and you're good to go

DesMalone
DesMalone

@atfsux straight talk is likely who this article is referring to. I've used them since 2010 and am perfectly happy with the service. It's as anon as you want it to be and they do offer smartphones at generally competitive rates, though you will be spending the $45 mo unlimited use option on those. No contracts, no nonsense.

Use it or lose it
Use it or lose it

I went without any phone whatsoever for almost four years during a time of financial dire straits about ten years ago. During that time, I still had to communicate with my wife, kids, boss, etc. I seemed to gain a 'sense' of when someone was trying to contact me almost like a ringing in my ears, at which time I would find a pay phone and call whomever. Many times I was right on the money and they WERE trying to get ahold of me. I believe most everyone could have this kind of sense if necissity demanded it. I'm just an average guy but mainly I'm a survivor, so undoubtably I survived not having a cell phone - - BECAUSE I HAD TO in order to survive, keep my job, etc. Now I'm glued to my smartphone and people have to yell real loud to get my attention. So have I lost the intuitive senses I had a decade ago? It may be wise to get off any phone device for awhile so I don't lose the sense altogether. USE IT OR LOSE IT holds true and applies to numerous things. My own mother can't find her way down the block without her gps - so has she now lost her memory of the city grid she has known for years? She says her mind is on other things with the gps on, but when gps goes out she panics as if though she were totally lost and won't drive until its back up and functioning. USE IT OR LOSE IT PEOPLE ! ! Never trust your life to any dubious device. Whoever controls it could do a 'wylie coyote' on you and paint what looks like a tunnel onto the side of a brick wall.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

In light of today's news of Obama's NSA secretly acquiring all of our bulk call records (who we call, where we are, what time, etc.) from Verizon to create a map of all available US citizen's private conversations... an untrackable anonymous phone might be a good idea.

scott
scott

imagine if you will a parent so obsessed with spying on there children, EX husband and there family to the point it causes the child to wake up in the middle of the night screaming from nightmares that someone is out to get them. having some one parked on your block or in your backyard camped out trying to eavesdrop on your conversation and using family members working for at&t to help them track you turn features on without your permission....don't be so quick to knock anonymous devices.....there just what i'm looking for

Cindy
Cindy

I get a new prepaid every month just because hackers piss me off.There is no phone. that is untraceable

Erik
Erik

The article is imbalanced, granting undo weight to the dangers of anonymous phones while overlooking civil rights. While a crime could be committed with an anonymous phone, there are several questions we have to ask. Do we remove rights of privacy from millions of consumers just to stop the occasional crime? And would doing so actually stop those crimes, or just make criminals look for other ways to accomplish communication anonymously? Knives are used in criminal acts more than guns, do we register knife owners? And cell tracing only helps expedite the investigation of a crime. Should we tap all phones and run them through AI algorithms in order to try to prevent the crimes? The article treats phones as though they are weapons. They're not, they're tools. We can regulate and restrict weapons, but violating privacy rights in order to regulate and restrict tools is nonsensical. We have to ask - how many major crimes have been accomplished or gotten away with due to anonymous phones? The figure is probably close to almost none.

atfsux
atfsux

I've been using a prepaid Tracfone from Walmart for years, and love it. But as much as I have resisted, I find myself actually NEEDING a smartphone now. That is a whole nuther story. How the hell does one get anonymous smartphone service? Everywhere I have looked into it, even if you buy an unlocked phone for cash and try to get carrier service prepaid for cash,...somewhere along the line someone demands to see ID. I suppose I may have to set about getting a fake ID, since I absolutely REFUSE to have any phone connected to me. But at 44, I'm not hooked up with the high school crowd, so I have no idea where to get quality IDs.

Kensi Marie Blye
Kensi Marie Blye

Local Gas station here (mom and pop place) sells new cell phones (Verizon agent) as well as used cell phones of any brand or type (CDMA or GSM) as they buy used ones. It is too easy to walk in and buy one, buy a SIM card off ebay or elsewhere, and then activate the phone via the internet as I have described above. And with cell phones costing as low as $10, it is easy for a paranoid person or someone who really doesn't want to be tracked to buy a new one every month and buy a $10 phone card each month (or when one runs out of minutes) and just toss the SIM card, give away the old phone or sell it, and activate and use the new one. And with a whole country of zip codes to choose from, they can get a new number in a new area code monthly if they want. The cost? $20 to $25 a month (more if they add another $10 card because of needed minutes.) If the government wants you, they can track you. Make no doubt about it. CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland, State Police, or even Sheriff, etc. can track you if they need to. It's Joe Public and a lot of PI's and the other 98% that cannot that ones are getting away from. A show of Discovery Channel a year or two ago had a survival expert showing how to "disappear" and live off the grid so that no one really save the government would be able to find you. But yes, it can be done. Be well :-)

Titan
Titan

A phone that is not in your name that you can call from??? next thing you know there will be a generic phone on every corner that anybody can call from by prepaying!!! wait, that was the LAST 60 YEARS!!!!!!!! insert generic trading liberty for security saying here. Idiots do not learn from the past. What amuses me the most is that the vocal republicans, a party which i am a member and waiting for the real republicans to return to, want the most invasive intrusion into our private lives in the name of personal safety, (btw, before i get flamed, look up the statistics of Getting killed by a terrorist vs getting killed by an alligator or bee) are the same that cry to keep the government out of our business lives, ban the federal government and give the power to corporations. Just saying knee jerk reactive short sightedness causes more problems than they will ever solve.

Aziz
Aziz

untraceable phone is impossible.not any government on this world will ever allow it.it is just an advertisement to make more mobile phone sales.can you even imagine that real untraceable phones are being sold like a bread and chees in every market?it will completely jeopardise national security directly.this is why even Togolese government will never allow such phone sales.technically it is also impossible.there is not even single phone which can be completely discrete in front of US NSA and such organisations.

Jim Smith
Jim Smith

People talking on cell phones: That's creepy.

Who knows what they are saying about stuff? Could be terroristic drug dealers, criminals, polticians...

The govenrment should listen to all calls and decide who is good and who is bad and then act on it.

It's for our own good.

Oh! That's right, they already do.

Jim Smith
Jim Smith

People talking on cell phones: That's creepy. Who knows what they are saying about stuff? Could be terroristic drug dealers, criminals, polticians... The govenrment should listen to all calls and decide who is good and who is bad and then act on it. It's for our own good. Oh! That's right, they already do.

DesMalone
DesMalone

@scott toss in a dictionary and you're good to go


their*

tm0282
tm0282

@Cindy must be work'n for the taliban with your prepaid anonymous cell aren't ya? lol

Thomas Tucker
Thomas Tucker

*the right to a false sense of privacy.

It's easier for the Gov't just to let people think they have privacy and not even try to pretend to regulate it.

Thomas Tucker
Thomas Tucker

*the right to a false sense of privacy. It's easier for the Gov't just to let people think they have privacy and not even try to pretend to regulate it.

DesMalone
DesMalone

@atfsux straight talk is likely who this article is referring to. I've used them since 2010 and am perfectly happy with the service. It's as anon as you want it to be and they do offer smartphones at generally competitive rates, though you will be spending the $45 mo unlimited use option on those. No contracts, no nonsense. 

tm0282
tm0282

@Kensi Marie Blye i take it you must have the idea of "hey, im not doing anything wrong therefore the government and all their state security alphabet soup agencies looking, listening, tracking, etc of me doesn't bother me at all and only those people up to no good would want privacy" and i don't know what it is about that idea that just makes me feel sick.

tm0282
tm0282

@Titan when you are correct only an idiot would attempt to flame you. trust me this article is only agreed with by fellow SS (state security) officers and the like, the ones that have 100x the indoctrination of the average american, the ones that "follow orders" and refuse to look at the world any other way than that they are told. the ideas of democrat and republican are only a game meant to keep us, the people, divided. the politics do not matter when every politician is working towards the same agenda. just ask yourself what were obamas main points when he was running for office... then ask yourself how many of those points happened or were even attempted? and then look back through history and see that it never mattered what they said it was all a smoke screen to give us, the people, the idea that we somehow had a voice, we don't and most likely never did. and if Citizens United has its way the spending limits for corporations will soon be removed and you will be able to flat out buy the election. its long been said politics are rigged but when that law changes how can anyone still argue that point is false? as long as we stand around yelling back and forth about who is best, dem or rep, we are playing right into their hands, divide and conquer. 

tm0282
tm0282

@Aziz please explain how me using an anonymous cell is a threat to national security? because that sounds like living in north korea or stalinist russia and i thought we americans prided ourselves on liberty, freedom, and privacy?

tm0282
tm0282

@Jim Smith have you seen the latest from the good ol NSA? they now listen in on phone sex conversations by tagging words which one would use in said conversations. lol no joke

JessicaStaver
JessicaStaver

@DesMalone Bwahahaha, you are so wrong. The correct spelling should have been THEY'RE just what I'm looking for. There are a few ways to spell out the word that sounds the same but has different meanings. He meant THEY ARE just what I'm looking for. So maybe you could look through the dictionary a bit, eh?

tm0282
tm0282

@DesMalone wow thats all you got from that? i guess calling you puerile, truculent, or obnoxious might be a little much but i have the sense you were as happy as the village idiot to point out a misplaced "e". congrats youve have truley found sume meaning in youre life. work on that for awhile their our 9 gramar errors, can you find em?

And to the GI JOE author pointing out that your oppressive and invasive government can not track your every move using an anonymous cell does not seem like something i thought this site would oppose... but at least it is nice to know where men like this stand on freedom and privacy (just for clarity he is against it). i hope you keep in mind that you are just a human like the rest of us, nothing more.

Cindy
Cindy

@tm0282 not for the Taliban.

Who I work for and what I do are really no business of yours. What ever reason I have for not having my phone linked to my name is 1 perfectly legal 2 important and 3 not your concern

But making accusations against others with zero evidence puts you in legal jeopardy of slander.

Regardless of what politicians may want to tell you, we do have a right to privacy as our rights are based on English Common Law, and I suggest you avail your self to that right as rights not exercised are rights lost.

JessicaStaver
JessicaStaver

@DesMalone Apologies, you were right on the first part of Scotts sentence, but you should have noticed at the last sentence the spelling mistake he made as well. If you are to act like the spelling police, then play the part right buddy.

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