The Indian government has announced a new rule for smartphones that will block stolen and fake smartphones from being used in the country. Starting January 1, 2023, all mobile phone manufacturers are required to register the IMEI number of every handset manufactured in India with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal (https://icdr.ceir.gov.in) before the first sale of a newly launched mobile phone.
India is a country where mobile phone theft is rampant. Nearly 1 out of every 3 mobile phones that are reported stolen in the world are from India. This staggering number has prompted the Indian government to come up with a new rule that will block stolen and fake smartphones from being used in the country.
In India, there are lakhs of smartphones and feature phones that come with fake IMEI numbers or even duplicate IMEI numbers. Also, it isn’t difficult to buy copycats of popular handsets in India that mostly arrive from China. This is a big step forward in addressing the issue, as it will make it much more difficult for thieves to profit from stolen phones, and will also help to discourage the production and sale of counterfeit phones. It will be combating the growing problem of phone theft and counterfeiting in India.
The rule will not only remove these phones from the market, but it will also ensure that people don’t make transactions using blocked phones, thereby reducing the number of transactions done using cash.
The new rule aims to make sure that all mobile phones that are sold in India have a legit IMEI number that can be tracked digitally.
According to a notification issued by the government, “The international mobile equipment identity number of the mobile phone imported in India for sale, testing, research or any other purpose shall be registered by the importer with the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction portal (https://icdr.ceir.gov.in) of the Government of India in the Department of Telecommunications before import of mobile phone into the country”.
The IMEI number is unique and it is used to track criminals. While the SIM card can be changed or destroyed, the IMEI number is hard coded and making it easier for law enforcement agencies to tackle crime.
The government introduced the Indian Counterfeited Device Restriction (ICDR) system for issuing IMEI certificates for the import of mobile devices through various customs ports in 2021.
The new system has already been operational from 1st January 2020. The new system can be accessed through the web portal https://icdr.ceir.gov.in for registration and generation of IMEI certificates. There are no charges for registration and generation of IMEI certificates through this web portal at present.
“The new system has replaced the old IMEI Cloning and Duplication Restriction system, which was operated and maintained by the Mobile Standard Alliance of India (MSAI). Hence MSAI is not authorised for registration, generation or issue of IMEI certificates,” according to the government.
The government has also advised that IMEI certificates obtained/generated/issued through any other sources are illegal and there will be legal action. Government has not authorised/appointed any agent or third party to assist the applicant for the registration and IMEI certificate generation process through the above-mentioned web portal,” it added.
Now, the question is the authentication of your phone.
How can you tell if a phone is stolen or fake?
One way is to check the IMEI number. Every phone has a unique IMEI number, and you can usually find it by dialling a code on your phone’s keypad. If the number that comes up doesn’t match the one on the box or in the phone’s documentation, it’s probably a fake.
You can also check to see if the phone has been reported lost or stolen by doing an IMEI check online. There are a few different websites that offer this service, but be sure to use a reputable one like Check mend or GSMA intelligence.
How to check the IEMI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number on my phone?
One of the main ways that this will be achieved is by requiring all phones to be registered with their unique IMEI number. This will allow the authorities to quickly identify and block any stolen or fake phones that are in an attempt to be used in the country.
The IMEI number is a unique identifier for your phone and can be used to track or disable it if it is lost or stolen.
What is the IMEI number?
IMEI or International Mobile Equipment Identity number is used to uniquely identify a mobile device on the network. Every mobile phone, GSM modem or device with a built-in phone/modem has a unique 15-digit IMEI number. Based on this number, you can check some information about the device, like a brand or model.
The IMEI number is different on every mobile device. IMEI number tells where the mobile device is made and what is the model number of the device. The IMEI number of any phone indicates the phone’s current location. IMEI is very used full when your device gets lost or stolen, even if the SIM card in your phone has been removed, it can be traced using the IMEI number attached to the device.
The process to check the IEMI number of the phones:
- Dial *#06# on your phone.
- The IMEI number will now be displayed on the screen.
- Note it down somewhere or take a screenshot.
The Processes to check the IMEI Number on the iPhone:
If you have an iPhone 5 or newer iPhone, the IMEI is also engraved on the back panel. Flip the phone to note it down. On iPhone 4s or older iPhones, the IMEI is printed on the SIM tray.
How to Check Phone’s IMEI Number Via Settings:
- On Android, go to Settings
- Select “About”
- Click on IMEI to see the IMEI number.
- Tap Status and scroll down to see the IMEI information.
How to Check the IMEI Number Via Settings on an iPhone :
- Tap on “Settings”
- Then General
- After that go to “About”
- Scroll down to IMEI.
On most other phones with a removable battery, the IMEI is printed on a sticker that is inside the phone, under the battery. Take the battery out to check.
When you don’t have your phone:
Check the Phone’s IMEI Number on the Retail Box or Bill:
The retail box and the bill both have the IMEI number written on them, which is a good reason to keep them safe instead of throwing them out. Keep the box safe at least, because it will be useful if you need to check the IMEI, or if you choose to resell the phone at a later date. The IMEI number will be on the sticker on the side of the box.
How to Check Phone’s IMEI Number on Android:
Android users can check their device’s IMEI number even if they’ve lost the phone. All the methods mentioned above work perfectly and are faster, but if you’ve lost the phone and not kept the box, this can still bail you out.
- Log in to Google Dashboard using the Google account linked to the Android phone.
- Click Android, next to the green robot logo.
- This will reveal a list of devices registered to the account, along with their IMEI numbers
How do I know if my phone is new or used?
There are many counterfeit phone markets in India, and it can be difficult to tell if a phone is fake or not.
But it is possible to check that your handset is refurbished or new.
Go through the process to check it.
- Tap your Phone app and open up the dialler.
- Using the touchscreen keypad, dial ##786#
- It will open the RTN screen
- Click here, the option “View”.
- Scroll down the RTN screen to Reconditioned status.
- There are only two possible status entries:
- Yes: Your phone is a refurbished model.
- No: Congratulations, your phone is not a refurbished model. Instead, it is factory new.
Note: If this code doesn’t work, try *#*#786#*#* instead. Stars and numbers must be entered in the correct order.
Another way to protect your phone is to make sure you are buying a new, original phone from a reputable source.
The biggest duplicate smartphone markets in India are Kolkata and Delhi. In these markets, you can buy a fake or stolen smartphone for as little as Rs. 500. With this new rule in place, it will be much more difficult for criminals to use stolen or fake smartphones in India. This will help to protect consumers and businesses from the growing problem of phone theft and counterfeiting in India.
This is a welcome move by the Indian government and should help to make India a safer place for smartphone users.
Finally, it’s important to always keep your phone locked with a password or PIN. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your data if your phone is stolen.
To get more such updates, click here.