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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Unauthorized Use of Lost Cell Phone

    Wanted to hear members opinion on whether someone who finds a lost cell phone AND uses it is breaking any laws. The following link claims that it is petit larceny but I was told by the police to just stop service and suck it up (the link also mentions some cops being less than helpful....)

    It would be interesting to know since this is going to become a bigger and bigger problem when people lose smartphones that have their entire address books, corporate email, etc. I made sure international calling was blocked and changed my corporate email password so the phone wouldn't receive that anymore but stopped short of disabling the phone b/c it wasn't costing me anything beyond my normal plan yet (only 2 calls were made) and wanted to give the person the benefit of the doubt. Well that and if they were going to keep the phone I wanted them to call everyone they knew so I could trace those numbers to figure out who has it.....

    It seems to me that it should be illegal for someone to use a lost phone since you enter a contract with the mobile carrier and there is usually language in there saying you won't allow other people to make unauthorized calls. Can anyone confirm this?

    In my case I'm actually going to get the phone back (just took awhile to get in touch with the cabbie) but for others out there it seems like a logical approach to get their phone back by having the police trace the numbers that were called by the phone (and possibly even look at the contacts list of the people who were called if that is a permissable search & seizure).

    I doubt anyone who is called on a lost cell phone by the police and told they are committing a crime would not return the phone if promised that no charges would be filed.



    P.S. I live in IL if that matters in this case but I'm more interested in general

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Unauthorized Use of Lost Cell Phone

    I would say that they would be breaking laws in every U.S. jurisdiction. I'm not going to check the statutes in every state, though, to tell you specifically which laws. I would guess that most people who are called on a lost cell phone after using it unlawfully will throw it away, rather than negotiating to return it.

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