Large Quantity Cell Phone buy attempts


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bearmgc
January 13, 2006, 04:49 PM
Recently in the news, attempted purchases of large quantities of prepaid cell phones have alerted authorities in Texas. Cashiers at Walmart became suspicious, when some customers attempted to buy 60 prepaid cell phones. When the customers realized that they were being scrutinized, they tried to put back the merchandise and disperse. A similar incident also happened in California. These types of cell phones were responsible for detonating the train bombs in Madrid. For me, this shed some new light on the federal govt practice of roving wire taps. I'm hoping some of the more tech savvy THR'ers might give their opinions on the need for these roving wire taps, in view of the cell phone incidents.

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Henry Bowman
January 13, 2006, 05:10 PM
There are other reasons for a mass buy of such cell phones. Such as $$$$$:evil:

Example: Phones are factory programmed to only work on a certain network (e.g., Verizon). The network buys these phones that would ordinarily retail for $100 for say $50. They sell them at a loss to Wal-Mart for $10, expecting to make up the loss plus profit on the deal through the sale of future airtime service.

These guys buy a hundred of them from Wal-Mart for $19.95 each. They "flash" them -- reprogram them for a different network (e.g., Cingular) -- and sell them for $80 each. The consumer get a $100 for $80:) , but some of the features of the phone may not work:mad: . The original network loses money because they don't get to sell future airtime. Wal-Mart doesn't really care, they made their sale. The phone manufacturer is blamed by the consumer because some of its features don't work.

fletcher
January 13, 2006, 05:37 PM
+1 to ^

I seriously doubt this would be terror-related. Only one phone is needed to set off a bomb, not >60 from the same store.

RKirby
January 13, 2006, 07:28 PM
Don't know all of the details, but media (local ABC affiliate) reports last night stated that the FBI has supposedly tied the purchasers of some of these phones from a west Texas Walmart (Midland or Odessa, maybe) to a Texas based terrorist cell.:what: Until I heard this report I didn't know there was a Texas based terrorist cell!!

The concern is not so much that they can be used to trigger bombs, but that ownership cannot be traced if they are used for nefarious purposes, since these are prepaid or pay-as-you-go phones.


Considering that this could be a major story if true, there's not much else being reported today. Maybe ABC news will expand on this story tonight.

dolanp
January 13, 2006, 07:31 PM
Untraceable cell phones, why there oughta be a law!!


:rolleyes:

QuickDraw
January 13, 2006, 10:32 PM
^
Just wait a minute,there'll be one coming along.:uhoh:
Some folks believe its nobodys darn business where or
to whom they yak on their cellphone.
I'm one of them!

QuickDraw

Standing Wolf
January 13, 2006, 10:54 PM
I forget: are those cell phones the choice of terrorists or drug dealers? It's so hard to keep up with all the people we're supposed to hate and fear!

JohnBT
January 13, 2006, 10:58 PM
How can NSA eavesdrop on their plans if nobody will sell them phones? :cuss:

John

GigaBuist
January 14, 2006, 02:17 AM
For me, this shed some new light on the federal govt practice of roving wire taps. I'm hoping some of the more tech savvy THR'ers might give their opinions on the need for these roving wire taps, in view of the cell phone incidents.

Remember, we only tap people that are talking internationally, and, only people talking to al-Q overseas. I know this, because Bush told me that on TV.

Roving wiretap warrants would be required domestically, but when you're talking to al-Q overseas we can tap your conversation at will. Logically if we know you're talking to al-Q we really don't care what phone you're calling from. The NSA (apparently) has all the tools in place to do this for international communications.

As far as I know we aren't "tapping" Achmed American, we're just intercepting any calls that somebody might make to Muhammed Middle Easterm Muslim Terrorist. It seems there's a huge legal difference in the matter.

I found Henry Bowman's comments rather spot on. It's already been shown (I can dig up the Slashdot link if you want) that terrorist cells in the Middle East are cloning cell phones of US CEOs to avoid detection, or at least escape the bill. I'm not sure which is the real reason. They were doing it pre NYT "NSA leak" too so make of that what you will.

My guess is financial gain. A couple of guys of Arab decent went to buy a bunch of pre-paid phones to sell them to their local Arab community while "fear mongering" about the government possibly listening in on them and offering up an anonymous cell phone. Seems like an easy sell to somebody that's lived under a Tyranical government to me.

Cell phones as anonymous bomb detonators? Please. Don't make me give these guys better ideas.

CAPTAIN MIKE
January 14, 2006, 02:20 AM
...One day you'll go into Target or Wal-Mart to buy a disposable phone for your relative visiting town for the week and you'll be asked to present two forms of photo ID and then told there's a 14-day WAITING PERIOD !!

Boogyman
January 14, 2006, 02:30 AM
Funny how every time the Bushies find themselves with their backs against the wall when they get caught doing something "questionable" such as the illegal NSA spying scandal, then some obscure, hard-to verify story like this so-called "terrorist-linked" cell-phone buy comes out that would seemingly justify their indiscretions. Gee, what a "coincidence".
Instead of the old trick of raising the "alert level" color code, now we have this crap. Looks like Rove is still up to his sleazy tricks. I can't wait till he gets indicted.

Freedspeak
January 14, 2006, 02:42 AM
Gee, this sounds like it could be used in a story or something!:evil:

telomerase
January 14, 2006, 03:05 AM
When cellphones are outlawed, then only outlaws will have... come on, people, are you trying to take this seriously? Banning prepaid cellphones isn't going to stop Joe Terrorist from making radio-control bombs.

Waitone
January 14, 2006, 03:14 AM
I smell a setup which is blown by a Target or WalMart employee. Ain't it curious that will all the electronic surveillence going on fed.gov would curiously overlook something like pay-per-use cells. It is too obvious a means of communications. I suspect fed.gov deliberately left the controls loose in hopes the badguys would adopt said cells as their preferred means of communication. Sorta like creating a "fatal funnel" in the world of the infantryman. Fed.gov then sits back and listens.

DRZinn
January 14, 2006, 03:57 AM
Were they planning 60 bombs at once? I doubt it. They'd buy one phone, make one bomb, and that'd be that. This was probably some type of scam, but terrorism just doesn't sound plausible.

Alex45ACP
January 14, 2006, 04:32 AM
Untraceable cell phones, why there oughta be a law!!


:rolleyes:

There will be, give it a couple months.

Don Gwinn
January 14, 2006, 12:52 PM
It's not about bombs, it's about communications that are hard to trace. It's the ability to use one of these phones for a day or two and then throw it away for another one that helps make them so anonymous, so you'd need large numbers to make it work.

Maybe.


Read Enemies Foreign and Domestic for details. :evil:

justashooter
January 15, 2006, 03:55 PM
It's not about bombs, it's about communications that are hard to trace. It's the ability to use one of these phones for a day or two and then throw it away for another one that helps make them so anonymous, so you'd need large numbers to make it work.

Maybe.


Read Enemies Foreign and Domestic for details. :evil:

one use untraceable phones have been a spy standard for some time. looks like amatures using tom clancy books for inspiration.

Manedwolf
January 15, 2006, 03:57 PM
Don't know all of the details, but media (local ABC affiliate) reports last night stated that the FBI has supposedly tied the purchasers of some of these phones from a west Texas Walmart (Midland or Odessa, maybe) to a Texas based terrorist cell.:what: Until I heard this report I didn't know there was a Texas based terrorist cell!!

The concern is not so much that they can be used to trigger bombs, but that ownership cannot be traced if they are used for nefarious purposes, since these are prepaid or pay-as-you-go phones.


Considering that this could be a major story if true, there's not much else being reported today. Maybe ABC news will expand on this story tonight.

Cry wolf. I'm more inclined to believe the second posting. There are far, far more make-a-quick-buck con artists out there than there are terrorists.

If they want to investigate something, they should be SECURING THE PORTS!

Waitone
January 15, 2006, 04:18 PM
one use untraceable phones have been a spy standard for some time. looks like amatures using tom clancy books for inspiration.Keep in mind it was Tom Clancey who wrote a book about a PO'd pilot diving a fuel ladened jet into the capitol building in an attack on the US government. Meanwhile the CIA, FBI and a host of other alphabet groups said, "We had no idea. . . . "

Double Naught Spy
January 15, 2006, 04:32 PM
Recently in the news, attempted purchases of large quantities of prepaid cell phones have alerted authorities in Texas. Cashiers at Walmart became suspicious, when some customers attempted to buy 60 prepaid cell phones. When the customers realized that they were being scrutinized, they tried to put back the merchandise and disperse. A similar incident also happened in California. These types of cell phones were responsible for detonating the train bombs in Madrid. For me, this shed some new light on the federal govt practice of roving wire taps. I'm hoping some of the more tech savvy THR'ers might give their opinions on the need for these roving wire taps, in view of the cell phone incidents.

Do you have a news story to back up these claimed attempted purchases and subsequent suspicions?

Disposible phones can be used for many things. The connection with them being used for bombs in Madrid, while maybe accurate, is sensationalistic. They also get used in Iraq and other conflict areas of the world where there is fighting signal service.

Such prepaid phones are used by those who are involved in various types of secret dealings who wish no chance of discovery and so phones are used once and discarded. This can be for illegal dealings or legal.

Don't know all of the details, but media (local ABC affiliate) reports last night stated that the FBI has supposedly tied the purchasers of some of these phones from a west Texas Walmart (Midland or Odessa, maybe) to a Texas based terrorist cell. Until I heard this report I didn't know there was a Texas based terrorist cell!!

Well duh! If you are in a terrorist group you don't place want ads in newspapers for office help or a terrorist recruiting drive.

Wanted - Anti American resident for office mgmt position in an anti-American terrorist headquarters in remote Texas. We pay top dollar and you can expect to blow the lid off of your taxes.

Wanted - cell phone demolition expert with at least 7 fingers for short term work in central Texas. We offer challenging opportunities that will be a blast! Cellular and atomic relocation available at end of contract.

Of course there are terrorist groups in Texas as well as everywhere else. Not all are anti-American per se. Recently, we had the Republic of Texas that was subdued. There are various right to life, animal, and other eco-terrorist groups.

CAnnoneer
January 15, 2006, 04:50 PM
+1 Standing Wolf

More scare tactics.

Let's see. Limit the liberties of millions, spy on people that buy disposable phones. Has it occurred to anybody that if pre-paid cell phones are outlawed, the outlaws that might be using them would find other ways to phone in a detonator in our electronic age? Come on, a highschooler with a few pieces of wire and a lemon can make a battery and a radio. I have an idea: Let's also monitor lemons and paper clips because somebody might make a galvanic element!

BedPimp
January 15, 2006, 04:59 PM
So, I've been lurking here for a while, mostly in Shotguns and Strategies/Tactics and figured it's about time to post.

There was that article last week about people being able to buy your cell phone records. Seems to me this would be a good reason for prepaid cell phones. If I worked undercover, I'd want a few of these.

Donating 60 prepaid cell phones to a women's shelter would go a long way to helping folks out. It's probably not something to advertise, though. I can't imagine an abusive husband/boyfriend would be thrilled to find out an untraceable cell phone had been provided in situation like that.

Just a few of my thoughts, mostly inspired by things I've read here.

I ride a motorcycle and eat fast food. I'm scared of soccer moms on cell phones and obesity, not terrorists. :D

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