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'If You Lose Your Mobile' IMEI Retrieval Tip

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Circulating message claims that you can key in *#06# on your mobile phone to retrieve the device's unique IMEI number. It notes that recording this number could be helpful if your phone is lost or stolen.

Man using mobile phone

Brief Analysis

It is true that, on many mobile phones, you can indeed retrieve the IMEI by keying *#06#. It is a good idea to make a record of this number in case your phone is lost or stolen. However, it should be noted that the reporting email address in the message - which belongs to the Commissioner of Police in Chennai - is only relevant to users living in Tamil Nadu, India. And, it is currently unclear if using that email address is still the best way to report a lost or stolen phone.



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IMEI tip

Detailed Analysis

Message Claims Keying *#06# Will Reveal IMEI

According to a message that has circulated via social media and email for several years, you can retrieve your mobile phone's unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) by keying in *#06#. The message suggests that you retrieve and record your IMEI so that you can report the number to police should your phone be stolen.

The message includes an email address that you can use to send the IMEI to police if your phone is stolen. Supposedly, by sending the IMEI to the specified email address, the stolen phone can be traced.

*#06# Will Show IMEI

It is true that, for many mobile phones, keying in *#06# will indeed reveal your phone's IMEI. The IMEI is also often printed underneath the phone's battery.

And, it is a good idea to record your IMEI just in case your phone is lost or stolen. Having your IMEI may help if you need to report a lost or stolen phone to police or your service provider. The phone's IMEI may be used to disable a phone so that thieves cannot use it.

Thus, the suggestion in the message to retrieve and store your IMEI is worth heeding.

The message begins with the headline 'If you lose your mobile phone:' and then lists how to retrieve your IMEI. While the general meaning is clear, it is - of course - necessary to retrieve the number BEFORE your phone is lost or stolen.

Reporting Information May be Misleading

However, the reporting method suggested in the email is potentially misleading.

The listed reporting email address belongs to the Commissioner of Police in Chennai, the capital city for the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thus, the reporting address would only be relevant to people living in Tamil Nadu. It certainly would not be useful for people living in other parts of India or in other nations.

The listed email address was mentioned as a viable reporting method for Chennai in a June 2006 issue of The Hindu. And, it is still listed on the Tamil Nadu Government website as a means of contacting the Commissioner of Police. However, it is unclear if the listed email address is still the best way to report a stolen mobile phone in Tamil Nadu.

An enquiry to the Chennai Commissioner of Police via the listed email address has so far gone unanswered.

Regardless of where you live, if your mobile phone is lost or stolen, you should report the matter to local police and alert your phone service provider.

Mobile Phone IMEI


Last updated: March 16, 2015
First published: March 16, 2015
By Brett M. Christensen
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