Magazine article Information Management

Cell Phone Records for Sale

Magazine article Information Management

Cell Phone Records for Sale

Article excerpt

For as little as $100, anyone can buy your cell phone records online.

BestPeopleSearch.com, for example, advertises the sale of cell phone records, claiming that the information is uncovered by private investigators. Locatecell.com also sells cell phone calling records online, promising "accurate and current" searches, $95 to find current cell phone numbers, and a reverse cell phone number lookup service--buyers can find a name and address from just a number--for $65 ($85 for Canadian cell numbers and $250 for international cell numbers).

Law enforcement authorities said various illegal methods are used to collect the information. The methods include "pretexting," where someone calls a wireless carrier and pretends to be a customer, hacking into an online account or even bribing cellular employees to get access to records.

It isn't a new practice, but it is an alarming one. Authorities say online data brokers have been selling Canadian and U.S. phone records for at least three years and haven't been hiding the fact. Privacy groups estimate there are more than 40 websites like Locatecell, most of which are based in the United States.

But the companies sell the records to anyone, anywhere. As part of an investigation, Canada's MacLeans Magazine was able to buy Canadian Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart's phone records online from U.S.-based Locatecell.

"Locatecell.com delivered months of long-distance records from her Bell Canada home and cottage accounts," says MacLeans. …

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