HITS: Handphone IMEI Tracing System | Check using SMS whether the handphone was stolen before you buy it

And for the clueless (I'm one of them, okay?) IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identification.

I like the news how HITS has been improved. Previously the check on whether the handphone was stolen could only be done using the Internet. Now, a SMS service is introduced & allowed the check to be done anywhere. (Well, you can use Internet too almost anywhere...but you know what I mean.)

Learn more about HITS (Handphone IMEI Tracing System) & related FAQ-s here. The HITS official site: here.

Handphone ownership in Singapore has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. Not only has this resulted in a vibrant handphone resale industry, in which handphones are bought and sold via secondhand dealers, but handphones have also become a target for thieves.

The Handphone IMEI Tracing System (HITS), an online handphone screening service, was developed and launched in 2006 to deter handphone thieves from selling off stolen handphones to secondhand dealers and the public. The system uses each handphone’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number to identify handphones which have been reported stolen.

Where screenings could only be done via the Internet previously (accessible via Police's e-Services webpage at http://www.spf.gov.sg/epc/index.htm), the HITS system has now been enhanced to allow for screenings to be easily done via Short-Message-Service (SMS) as well. From 27 October 2009 onwards, members of the public and secondhand dealers can easily check if the secondhand phones they are about to purchase have been reported stolen or lost via the Internet and SMS. Through this enhancement, the Police hope to deter handphone related crimes by providing a more convenient and effective avenue for members of the public to perform IMEI screening.

For Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, Employment Pass and Work Permit holders, an SMS screening can be performed by sending "SPFHITSNRIC No/FIN NoIMEI No" to 74688. For others, simply send "SPFHITSIdentity NoOIMEI No" to 74688. Normal SMS charges apply.

If the screening result is "WANTED", members of the public are advised to proceed to any Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) or Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) to lodge a Police report immediately. Members of the public are also advised that it is an offence to retain a handphone that has been reported stolen or lost.

Members of the public are strongly urged to screen the IMEI number before purchasing any secondhand phones and play their part to deter crime.



PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
26 OCT 2009 @ 7.30 PM

From Singapore Police Force Media Information Center, "Unsure If The Secondhand Phone You Are Buying Is Reported Stolen or Lost? SMS 74688 To Check".

A new SMS service launched by the police to track down stolen or missing mobile phones will make it easier for secondhand dealers and consumers to check if a mobile phone is legitimate.

Launched by the Singapore Police Force on Tuesday, the service is an enhancement to its Handphone IMEI Tracing System, or HITS, which began as a website service in 2006.

An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identification) is a unique identification number that every cellphone has, much like a person's fingerprints.

The police introduced the system to allow anyone to check if a handset was not wanted by its owner. This was to curb the rising problem of thieves selling off stolen mobile phones to secondhand dealers.

Last year, an average of 67 screenings were made per day on the HITS website.

From Straits Times, "SMS for stolen & lost phones".

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