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December 24, 2012

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Lost or stolen iPhone? No need to panic

RESIDENTS whose iPhones are lost or stolen don't necessarily have to immediately hit the panic button.

A business is booming on the Internet that, for a relatively small sum, can often tell the owner in distress exactly where their phone is located.

Situ Leyi, a college student whose iPhone 4S was stolen about two weeks ago in Shanghai, found her phone last week at an Apple-authorized maintenance department in Jiangsu Province after paying 20 yuan (US$3.21) to a company she found online at

"I wasn't so confident about the service. I just gave it a try since I have nothing to lose and I couldn't believe they actually helped me to find my phone back," Situ said.

At least five stores on Taobao provide the service, which has helped thousands of iPhone owners get their phones back, the companies said.

The service searches for the phone's location through its unique integrated circuit card identity (ICCID). With the unique ICCID, the owner can find out the latest position of the iPhone and call the police for help.

Situ's iPhone 4S was stolen on December 8 around Dongbaoxing Road and Sichuan Road N., Hongkou District, she said. The college senior quickly called police but it seemed in vain since she did not see the thief.

Then she heard about the location services.

One of the service providers on, surnamed Jin, said if a person provides the phone's unique International Mobile Equipment Identity, or IMEI, which can be found with the phone's original packaging, the service can find the phone's ICCID identity. If the missing phone has been sent to have its operating system altered, which is often done, "there will be a record of its ICCID on Apple's server, through which we can find the location of the phone," Jin said.

Jin clarified that he provides only location services - the rest is up to the owner and police.

Last Monday, the condition of Situ's iPhone 4s was updated on the server when it was sent to the authorized Bybon Mobile Service outlet in Qidong, Jiangsu Province, Jin said. Situ and police found her phone.


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