Burner Phones, shipped anonymously to your door

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43 Responses to “Burner Phones, shipped anonymously to your door”

  1. forinfan says:

    Brought to you by Langley, Bob.

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      I wouldn’t even necessarily go that high up the food chain. By the standards of “They expended how much to capture those terrifying potheads?” police debacles, selling ‘burner’ phones with pre-warranted wiretaps to the less intellectually endowed end of the distribution chain counts as low-budget genius…

  2. fredley says:

    The guy behind this posted on Hacker News: Bitcoin payments are coming within a few days.

  3. greenberger says:

    Awesome. You get to scam someone off of Craigslist easily AND fuck up the planet even more in one fell swoop.

  4. Brainspore says:

    Wouldn’t it be more environmentally friendly to just sell a handset that uses disposable SIM cards?

    • xzzy says:

      Or do a netflix style business model.. they send you a phone, you use it, take out the sim card and destroy it then mail the phone back.

      Doesn’t really matter to me how they do it, but any business built around tossing electronics in the garbage after just 30 days is horribly irresponsible.

      • Glitzyitzy says:

        In agreement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan_mining_and_ethics

      • Thebes42 says:

        Yes.
        But perhaps it is less irresponsible that getting oneself incarcerated at a taxpayer cost of $58,000 a year.
        Think of all the new trash that must generate.

    • Gilbert Wham says:

       I keep forgetting that US phones don’t tend to use SIMs. Here, you can get a phone for a tenner, and a SIM is 99p. Just pay cash, and wear a hat…

      • Brainspore says:

        …and be sure to swallow the SIM card afterward like that wannabe-terrorist-mastermind in Four Lions. 

    • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

      Any handset that supports SIMs will have an IMEI burned into it. Some models, mostly older ones, have known hacks to change the IMEI; but it is otherwise globally unique and identical across the life of the phone.

      I don’t work for a three letter agency or anything; but I’d imagine that a single IMEI that changes SIMs in an unusual way would stick out pretty egregiously. Single-SIM-for-life-of-phone is probably the most common, frequent-swaps-between-two-SIMs probably covers all the people using one carrier for domestic, another for some global calling plan, or attempting to conduct a little affair on the sly, ‘phone changes owners or owner changes carriers every year or two’ probably also pretty frequent; but frequent swaps between SIMs for no obvious reason should be very, very, weird looking.

      • Gilbert Wham says:

         There’re millions of those swaps though. Second-hand phones, small-time dealers, people having affairs, kids who like to buy & swap handsets, etc. For that matter, for around $75 and up, you can get multi-sim handsets with up to 4 separate SIM slots & IMEI no.s straight from China. I’ve got a dual-sim ‘droid with 2 IMEIs; cost 130 quid a year or so ago, works fine.

        • fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

          My thinking is that there are, indeed, millions of swaps; but if (no longer purely hypothetically) the NSA were to have a record of all call activities over a given period, they could sort in such a way that ‘burner’ SIM swapping would become evident:

          If you take, say, 6 months of IMEI/SIM pairs and sort by IMEI, most IMEIs will have had only one SIM. Some will have had two, alternating pretty frequently, some will have had two, a permanent change of owner or carrier.

          Markedly fewer will have had three or more, with the odds getting narrower as the number gets higher. How many IMEIs will have had 8 distinct SIMs? 10?, etc. This IMEI population would, in all likelihood, consist almost entirely of phone repairman/peddler types testing the wares and people Of Dubious Interest.

          You could also go the other way(to try to screen out the repair guys and phone OS devs) and sort SIMs by unique IMEI across unit time. People break phones of course, so some churn is expected; but a SIM that has been through dozens of handsets in a time period is probably a test SIM or other oddity.

          This doesn’t make ‘burners’ impossible; but it’s a good reason to burn the phone and the SIM, if you actually want to be safe from anybody scarier than Officer Donut. Especially with phones as cheap as they are, for the nastier models of dumbphone.

          • Gilbert Wham says:

             Oh, absolutely. Like I said above, you can have a phone + SIM for ten quid or thereabouts. Just flipping your SIM is dumb (but then, so are people, by and large).

          • Boundegar says:

            It’s logical to assume they have some pretty wicked pattern-recognition running. Also, who knows more about “tradecraft” than NSA? So any phone showing good tradecraft is either one of our spooks, or somebody who is about to get a visit.

    • Ygret says:

      That won’t work, because the phone itself has, I believe its an IMEI number, that is communicated with every connection.  This is in addition to the SIM id code.

      • Brainspore says:

        It still seems like if you’re designing a phone with the express purpose of being disposable then you could still create the part with the unique IMEI number in a way that it could be swapped out without ditching the entire handset.

    • juepucta says:

      call logs

  5. Jacob Siebert says:

    isn’t sending to an address an anonymity issue?

  6. You can buy a prepaid Amex/VISA card for cash at BestBuy or most banks.

  7. Steve Taylor says:

    So it’s just like a phone you’d pay cash for over the counter, only traceable via credit card purchase details, delivery address, and the inner workings of a company you know nothing about?

  8. LogrusZed says:

    Go to any big box, or hell most grocery stores, and you can get a burner for less than ten bux that usually comes with a half hour of minutes. Who is this person marketing to? The paranoid but woefully uninformed seems like a pretty shitty intersection of a Venn diagram.

  9. japey says:

    Where’s Wallace?

  10. SedanChair says:

    The payment system, which requires a credit or debit card, seems a weak link. 

    DING DING DING. Keep buying burners with cash from the corner store. You’re welcome

    • Ygret says:

      Yeah, and the shipping address is a little bit of a leak as well.  This is the lamest scam since the apocalypse seed collection Glenn Beck used to sell on faux news for $80.

      • Thebes42 says:

        Yeah.
        These supposed security solutions sometimes seem to me as if they might actually be government data collection services.
        Presumably anyone buying these burner phones by mail-order is too scared to even buy them from Walmart or Walgreens or whoever else will sell a no-ID prepaid phone.
        Someone like that must have something to hide, so I would imagine that their shipping (and here, billing) information would be valuable to the Political Class’s spies and enforcers.

  11. JOe Smoe says:

    Makes 0 sense you can get a tracfone at walmart for 10$ and pay in cash. Use a computer at a library or a fedex to activate. Truly 100% anon. You can even add airtime if you need it without giving up your info.

    • Edward Becerra says:

       Aaaand then the FBI sends someone forth to moan in front of the newspapers about how dangerous this is, and therefore all phone sales *must* require photo id and leaving your fingerprints behind with the seller, used phones must be destroyed and never EVER resold, and how we’re just going to have to learn to live with the loss of privacy in the name of public safety,  et cetera…

      “Do it for da CHILDREN!”

  12. Halloween_Jack says:

    Next up, from the same company: Anonymous Hookups, Ltd., where for “only” $750 they’ll “set you up” with a reasonably attractive young person, as long as you not only provide them with ID and a credit card, but also a blood sample so that they can, ah, make sure you’re disease-free. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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