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  #1  
Old 10-08-2011, 01:53 AM
bige bige is offline
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Default How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Ok, I know about buying with and registering fake information. Been there done that.

The one thing I am trying to figure out is tracking. To my knowledge prepaid phones like tracfone are only located using e-911.
-Let's say a person report to the police that they were scammed and give the phone number (prepaid) of the scammer. Can the police look up like 2 days ago and see the gps location of the person during that time?
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2011, 02:49 AM
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SBTlauien SBTlauien is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

I want to know the answer as well.

Also, can they find the location of a phone that has the sim card and battery removed?
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2011, 03:44 AM
StrictlyBusiness StrictlyBusiness is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Wouldn't they go off of the cell phone towers when the last phone call was made/received ?
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  #4  
Old 10-08-2011, 07:35 PM
vovka351 vovka351 is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Like any phone, it can be located by triangulating the ping signal. The information of which tower you're connected to is readily available, of course.

No, you can't track a phone with no battery in it.
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2011, 07:44 PM
vovka351 vovka351 is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrictlyBusiness View Post
Wouldn't they go off of the cell phone towers when the last phone call was made/received ?
Think about how cell phones work for a minute. The hardwired network need to know where you are to decide which tower should broadcast and receive your calls.
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2011, 10:17 PM
Nitrile Nitrile is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

No, neither the police nor anyone can determine where you were x amount of days ago unless they were specifically monitoring your position at that time.
If your phone was on and was receiving data the cell carrier will have a record of what cell tower you were connected to.
If you made a call the cell carrier will also know which tower you connected to.

If the police are onto you and are actively tracking your cellphone, it can be identified by triangulation. Note however that triangulation equipment is expensive and unlike the movies, your average town sheriff or police force is probably unlikely to have it or even use it from a low priority crime (this is strictly my opinion).

Cell phones cannot be tracked without a battery in them. They can be tracked with a battery in them even when the phone is off.
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2011, 05:07 PM
vovka351 vovka351 is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrile View Post
No, neither the police nor anyone can determine where you were x amount of days ago unless they were specifically monitoring your position at that time.
If your phone was on and was receiving data the cell carrier will have a record of what cell tower you were connected to.
If you made a call the cell carrier will also know which tower you connected to.

If the police are onto you and are actively tracking your cellphone, it can be identified by triangulation. Note however that triangulation equipment is expensive and unlike the movies, your average town sheriff or police force is probably unlikely to have it or even use it from a low priority crime (this is strictly my opinion).

Cell phones cannot be tracked without a battery in them. They can be tracked with a battery in them even when the phone is off.
e911 phone tracking works on the existing cellular network infrastructure, and does not require specialized equipment. it does, however, require the cell company to comply with a request by police in real time, ie, they'd need to get a subpoena for real time data very fast to be effective. this happens... never?
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:21 PM
StrictlyBusiness StrictlyBusiness is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vovka351 View Post
e911 phone tracking works on the existing cellular network infrastructure, and does not require specialized equipment. it does, however, require the cell company to comply with a request by police in real time, ie, they'd need to get a subpoena for real time data very fast to be effective. this happens... never?
Oh it happens, I know this kid who used to call the police from stolen cell phones, He acted as if he was being robbed and hiding in the closet while the robber was there. They actually brought in SWAT one time and drug this old ass man out in his Grundies, Mindless to say a police investigator showed up at this kids house after the numerous Prank calls to 911.
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:32 PM
vovka351 vovka351 is offline
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Quote:
Originally Posted by StrictlyBusiness View Post
Oh it happens, I know this kid who used to call the police from stolen cell phones, He acted as if he was being robbed and hiding in the closet while the robber was there. They actually brought in SWAT one time and drug this old ass man out in his Grundies, Mindless to say a police investigator showed up at this kids house after the numerous Prank calls to 911.
Right, that's when you're calling them... they have the right to information on the origin of the contact. Not if you're just under investigation.
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Old 10-09-2011, 07:08 PM
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

you know the feds listening, so nigga what money
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  #11  
Old 10-09-2011, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

[quote=Nitrile;3020964
If your phone was on and was receiving data the cell carrier will have a record of what cell tower you were connected to.
If you made a call the cell carrier will also know which tower you connected to.[/QUOTE]

I saw an episode of Forensic Files where they used a phone call and his location during that phone call as evidence against him.

What could someone with an Iphone do(the battery can not come out of the phone)?

Would placing it into a multilayer tin foil pouch block the signal and make it untraceable?
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  #12  
Old 10-10-2011, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: How are prepaid phones tracked? (tracfone)

Any phone that has power can be 'tracked.' Period. Even in Standby mode many models will still send a 'hello' ping to towers.

Getting a warrant for the cops to access the carrier logs takes 15 minutes tops, and even that isn't always necessary thanks to numerous wiretapping case laws which give the police power to pull an unwarranted trace "if deemed time-critical." (Suspected kidnappings, dropped phone calls from lost hikers, children are involved, a crime in progress, etc.) One phone call, they have records. They're not well protected as even the slightest suspicion of a crime gives the police full rights to access the tower logs.

The accuracy of that tracking depends on the location of the user in regards to the nearby cell towers. Rural areas where you may only be catching the edge of one tower and your location is going to ping to a pretty giant area... potentially miles across. Every additional tower you're in range of narrow that area down significantly. If you're in an urban area with excellent cell coverage where you could be getting picked up by, say, 3 big towers and a half-dozen repeaters inside the city they can triangulate your location within a few hundred feet or less.

The e911 thing is nothing more than a permissions setting for the Parental Control / Business Fleet tracking software that most of the majors have available. You can watch the locations of your phones in real-time with pretty impressive accuracy even without having a GPS enabled phone. (We used ours to spy on employees suspected of dicking off on the job. If they had a company phone in their pocket and didn't know enough to turn that switch off, we'd know their current location down to about 100' and see a mark on the map, but the cell company and 911 can both still see them.)

Now of course they're not going to put out the time and effort to do a real-time live track to pinpoint your ass unless you've seriously pissed someone off, or threatened a crime against a celebrity or politician, or the cops are really fucking bored, but they most definitely can tell where that call was made at any time in the last month or more. That includes the call you just made 10 minutes ago.

Now is this useful to the cops? Not usually, if all they have is location alone. Could they triangulate a call with enough accuracy to pick a single address? With sufficient cell coverage, potentially... they could be close enough to narrow it down to a single building or apartment complex, but though without additional information (or a very confused judge) they'd never be able to get a search warrant on that information alone (unless that location is some stinking meth-lab in the middle of the woods that's catching multiple highway towers, or they have some other reason to suspect enough make up an excuse for a warrantless search such as 'hearing a domestic dispute' or 'smelling pot', etc. )

Otherwise, unless you went full retard and gave wandering cops permission to search a property, it'd be impossible to tell that the call happened from -inside- the home, and not just some douchebag who happened to be standing on the sidewalk in front of the house. It could, however, most definitely give them a close origin for the call. If there was any additional information; real names in a text message, etc... that potentially could be enough. But the whole point of a burn phone is to not use the damn things long enough to give up that kind of information... and not keeping the damn thing in your pocket for the pigs to find.
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