Elephone makes their customers publicly share private IMEI numbers

Elephone IMEI Fiasco

Elephone, the Chinese electronic’s manufacturer which is most famous for their low and mid-range smartphones, just had a brilliant idea!

Let’s give our loyal customers a sweet $100 coupon to use on any of our products at www.elephone.hk.

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That sounds.. Hmm.. Weird?

Alright, I get it. They want to check if people actually bought the smartphone before they give away $100 to anybody who comments. Because I think that’s what they mean with “No participant limitation“, right?

Let’s see how people responded.

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This is only 1/4 of the answers!

Well, it worked, they shared their IMEI numbers. Elephone didn’t specify if they wanted them through PM or sent through email, so people just shared them on Facebook.

So, where’s the problem? If you’re a tech savvy person or you have some knowledge about smartphones, then you know your IMEI shouldn’t be publicly shared.

We don’t want sellers to publicly post ESN (IMEI) numbers because it can promote fraud.

For instance, dishonest people will take other people’s ESN numbers and try to use them to create fraudulent listings. We’ve seen it happen before.. Some ESN numbers can also be stolen to “spoof” (steal) service on some networks and can be used in clone devices, etc.

Why should I not share my ESN / IMEI / MEID publicly?

According to Swappa – a company developed and founded for the facilitation of sales of new and gently used mobile devices – sharing your IMEI number is a just bad idea. It can allow criminals to steal it and then either use it to sell a stolen smartphone, by giving your “clean” IMEI number to possible buyers, or clone your smartphone, making it pretty much useless.

Elephone people seem to have totally have missed that lesson, though. Kinda weird for a company that makes smartphones!

I honestly hope they’ll fix this mess. The only solution might be deleting the Facebook post, which, among other things, is also sponsored. So it costed them money.

I don’t see any other way out, unless they decide to delete every shared screenshot and contact them through PM. Then, modify the post for future readers.

Nevertheless, kudos to Elephone for trying to give their customers something back and good luck to those who will need a new phone!

Jon S

Fan of everything tech, I like buying gadgets and trying them out. Football lover and adrenaline junkie.