Law enforcement officials in India have discovered over 13,500 Vivo smartphones that were using the same IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number.
The case is from Meerut, a city in India’s most populous state, Utter Pradesh. According to the report, the security loophole came out when a police officer from Meerut discovered that his Vivo phone’s IMEI number was different from the number on the box of his phone.
Authorities said that the police officer paid Rs. 2605 (~ $34) to get his Vivo phone exchanged, back in September. Not only was the new phone laced with system errors, but interestingly, it had a different IEMI number than what was mentioned on the box.
Later, authorities ran the IEMI number through the cyber cell team and discovered that 13,557 Vivo smartphones were running the same IMEI number across the country. Law enforcement has registered a fraud case and sent notices to the Chinese smartphone maker.
IMEI is a unique worldwide identifier for the phone, which helps law enforcement track lost phones or help in nabbing criminals. However, people running around with smartphones using the same IEMI number would undermine law enforcement efforts to catch crooks.
This comes at a time when anti-China sentiments are boiling in the country, with several people trying to boycott Chinese products to show their support towards India-China border dispute.
Similar cases have been reported over the last few years. A similar incident was reported back in 2012 when 18,000 smartphones were discovered to be running the same IEMI number.