Short for International Mobile Equipment Identity, IMEI is a unique 15-digit number assigned to a mobile device. It is hardcoded into the chip and is considered impossible to change. However, there can be ways in which the IMEI number can be changed. But it is not generally recommended, as changing IMEI number can have consequences. Changing IMEI number is also illegal in various countries. Even if you are doing it for fun on your own phone, it can land you in trouble.
How to change IMEI number?
There are specialized software programs that can allow you to change IMEI number. Apps are also available that can help you change IMEI number. You can also approach local electronics shops in your area. Some of these shops may change IMEI for a fee.
Why changing IMEI number is a bad idea?
An IMEI number can serve various purposes. One of the most important functions of IMEI is to trace stolen phones. It can also be used by enforcement agencies to track specific individuals associated with a particular device. There are also other forensics involved that are probably not disclosed in public domain. If you are planning to change a phone’s IMEI number, here are some reasons why you should not do it.
Stolen phone – It is possible that you may accidently change the IMEI to a number that is of a stolen phone. Depending on the carrier, users have the option to register IMEI of their stolen phones. When the stolen phone becomes active, it can then be tracked by enforcement agencies. If you accidently change IMEI to a number that is the same as that of a stolen phone, you can get into trouble.
Duplicate IMEI – It is possible that the IMEI number you choose may already be in use with another legit IMEI number. In this case, two duplicate IMEI numbers will show on the network. If changing IMEI is illegal in your country, a duplicate IMEI can bring the cops to your doorstep.
Use by criminals / terrorists – Life has a way of playing funny tricks, especially when we are up to some mischief. Even if you are changing the IMEI just for fun or to fix your curiosity, you may still get into trouble. Past IMEI numbers used by criminals and terrorists are always on the database of enforcement agencies. In case you accidently enter such an IMEI number, you could get into deep legal trouble.
Threat of ransomware – It is easy to see that no legit individual or enterprise is involved in providing tools for changing IMEI number. When changing IMEI number, you will apparently be dealing with unverified software programs and apps. These may successfully change your IMEI, but how can you know what else they have installed on your computer and phone. Your devices can get infected or your personal information could be stolen.
Due to these reasons, it is recommended that you avoid changing the IMEI number. It may seem like a fun experience, but can get you in trouble.