Cell Phone Stolen? Make it useless for the thief

Martin Brinkmann
May 29, 2006
Updated • May 5, 2013
Mobile Computing

This is a neat little trick that should work with most phones and phone service provider. You simply enter the code on the keypad of your mobile phone to reveal the unique serial number of it on the display. The serial number comes in handy in several situations. You can use it to prove that you are the rightful owner of the phone if it gets taken away from you or stolen, or contact your phone provider after it has been stolen to render it useless for the thief and prevent things like a high phone bill as the thief won't be able to use your SIM card anymore to use the phone's functionality.

The code is * # 0 6 #

The fifteen-digit code is the unique serial number of your mobile phone. Write it down, it's your IMEI Code. When someone steals your mobile you report the theft and your IMEI Code to your service provider. Most providers will ban that serial number making the phone useless.

If the code does not work on your phone, I suggest you search on the Internet to find out how to display your cell phone's IMEI code. If you can't find the information online, try calling your provider to find out how the phone's IMEI code can be displayed, or if the information can be handed over to you in another way.

Please note that this works only if the phone uses the Global System Mobile Communications (GSM) standard, which many but not all phones do. via: snopes.com

You sometimes find the IMEI code underneath the phones' battery. Just look for a sticker there and you should see the IMEI code listed there. You do need to turn off the phone for that for obvious reasons.

Your phone provider adds the IMEI to the Equipment Identity Register (EIR) and Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR), to block it from being usable by the thief.


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  1. jennifer said on November 20, 2011 at 2:00 am

    i had found a motorola droid phone & i think it was reported stolen . Is there any way i can get it connect it with my number ?

  2. JAMARCUS HALL said on January 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm


  3. Vivek-P said on July 4, 2009 at 8:30 am

    My Nokia 5130-Blue colour mob lost from my room at 23.06.09. i m giving here with the details of my mob. pls do the needful for getting mobile return to me.

    Model : Nokia-5130 Blue
    IMEI No. : 354223034680223
    Battery : 06704004175350154k21802025
    Charger : 3943499136230407242i0625605
    Lost date : 23.06.09

    1. roshan said on May 19, 2010 at 5:19 am

      dude its a crap wasting your time is ths kinda blogs.sum1 theft my nokia 5235 while i ws busy writn examinatn in my colleg..evn police dosnt giv much damn bout it..its betr forget tht u had that cell phone ..evn me doin the same…tc

  4. Stewart said on February 17, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Rogers in Canada (GSM) only nukes the SIM card…the phone’s IMEI is not “blacklisted”…so the stolen phone can be re-activated on another account…just gotta get the SIM card…40 bucks…

  5. Mats said on February 2, 2009 at 7:10 am

    The code you get by entering *06# is called an IMEI code. It’s also on the box the phone came in an on a tag on the phone, usually behind the battery.
    Some countries don’t use IMEI lockout, but in Finland, and most of Europe, a locked IMEI won’t work. I even got my phone back once when the thief was dumb enough to take the phone to be fixed when it stopped working due to IMEI lockout.

  6. John said on August 2, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    With the most of the phones being sim chip based, most providers don’t care what phone is used. They only care about the SIM chip itself.
    Your best bet is to get a Police report on the phone with the serial #. Chances are that you will never get the phone back. But you never know..

  7. Jennifer said on April 1, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    THis is crap my phone was stolen and the cell phone company can’t do crap about it. so much for this stupid blog

  8. Martin said on May 29, 2006 at 2:46 pm

    I think it´s possible to use the phone with a new provider . It´s unlikely that a single service provider is able to make the phone useless for all other providers.

    Think that might be the reason, not sure though :)

  9. Arcan3... said on May 29, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    LOL… erm… Actually it can be used…
    how im not sure… for example here (Venezuela) they change it from one provider to another so it works again… im not sure on how it works.. i just know half my friends own previously stolen phones… also since phones are insured here by the provider at a cost, most ppl when tired of their phones report them stolen, sell em as stolen with a new line and use the money plus the insurance to get a new better phone…

    1. beth said on January 22, 2011 at 11:04 pm

      umm for verizon phones and just about any other phone it says the providers name on the phone, another provider will not activate it..just saying

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