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Bug Cellphones

Bug Sends Lost-Phone Seekers To Same Wrong Address 298

netbuzz writes "A mysterious GPS-tracking glitch has brought a parade of lost-phone seekers — and police officers — to the front door of a single beleaguered homeowner in Las Vegas. Each of the unexpected visitors – Sprint customers all — has arrived absolutely convinced that the man has their phone. Not so, police confirm. The same thing happened in New Orleans in 2011 and Sprint got sued. Says the Las Vegas man: 'It's very difficult to say, 'I don't have your phone,' in any other way other than, 'I don't have your phone.''"
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Bug Sends Lost-Phone Seekers To Same Wrong Address

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:56PM (#42592865)

    Wow, thanks for pointing out the contents of the summary.

  • Re:Sucks to be him (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:59PM (#42592921)

    The police doing their job seems to be the best solution. This seems pretty common though. A friend once reported a theft from a vehicle and the police were annoyed he made them fill out a report when he did not have insurance for this. They literally did not even want to collect basic information that could be used to monitor the number of crimes occurring much less attempt to catch the perpetrators.

  • Re:Sucks to be him (Score:5, Informative)

    by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:16PM (#42593205)
    The same thing happened to me, and the anti harassment laws were useless to help. Here's why - the anti harassment laws only protect the person they are looking for. Since you are not the person they are looking for, they can call your number as often as they like - you can't request they stop, since you aren't the person with the debt. Only the person they are trying to collect from has any protections under the law. Calls to the police and the state Attorney general's office yielded no help at all. Begging and pleading, reason and logic, they fell on deaf ears - these people were going to call three times a day and there was no way to stop them. I even tried imitating the person they were looking for, in order to invoke the law telling them to stop calling, but my deep voice couldn't produce a realistic woman's voice (the deadbeat was female). I finally had to forward my calls to a non-working number for a week. The "doo-doo-DOO you have reached a number that is not in service" message they got when they called convinced them I had changed my phone number and they couldn't call me anymore....
  • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:24PM (#42593343)

    Something along the lines of "Yes, the tracker says your Phone is here. No, it is not. Please call SPRINT at 1-800-xxx-xxxx" Lo-tech, but effective.

    It's not a great picture, but he appears to have a sign next to his front door [] saying pretty much that.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:28PM (#42593425) Homepage Journal

    Is it vigilantism for me to knock on your door and peacefully ask if you have seen my phone?

    Read the original article [].
    This is clearly not what is happening.

    And even if you should ask politely and during polite hours, unlike the people this man has encountered, you would be taking the law into your own hands and accusing him of lying if you rang his doorbell over this despite the clear note he has put up outside his home.

    Part of the problem is that people use technology they don't understand. Sprint isn't pointing out his home as the address where the phone is. It's a triangulation starting point, with an error margin of several hundred feet in all directions.

    tl;dr: The real victim isn't the yobo who lost his phone.

  • Re:Sucks to be him (Score:5, Informative)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt.nerdflat@com> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:43PM (#42593675) Journal

    Whether you are the debtor or not, collection agencies are required, by law, to honor all C&D requests that are submitted to them, in writing. After they receive the C&D, they are permitted to contact you only once more, and the purpose of that communication is to advise you of their next course of action. If they do not respect the C&D, contact the FTC and your state Attorney General, and advise them that the collection agency has broken the law.

    If the agency refuses to give the information necessary for you to send them a C&D in writing, then this falls under the same category as a caller who refuses to identify himself, and if such calls persist without such identification, then it qualifies as full-on telephone harassment. The police can be notified in this case.

  • Re:Sucks to be him (Score:4, Informative)

    by pauls2272 ( 580109 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:48PM (#42593743)

    Certified mail to PO boxes is worthless and a waste of money. You can spend the money to do it, but the form is just deposited in the PO Box and they won't go to the window to actually get the certified mail.

    None of the collection agencies that called me ever gave me a real address. Most hung up when I asked for one, others insisted that the PO box was all that was required by the FTC.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:52PM (#42593817) Homepage Journal

    It's not a great picture, but

    I found a better picture [].

  • Re:Sucks to be him (Score:3, Informative)

    by drachensun ( 2766139 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:26PM (#42594353)
    I dont think it matters. If you can show you sent it, its not your problem if they refuse to accept it. They are the ones in the collections business and that comes with legal obligations.
  • Re:Ill Advised (Score:2, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @05:49PM (#42596911)
    That's a false dichotomy. The law should protect the homeowner getting attacked by hooligans, but a lost teen is not "aggressive" or "trespassing" and certainly not in the "attacking hooligans" category. We can protect both, but lying idiots like you would prefer dead teens to any requirement that you attempt to resolve the misunderstanding before shooting unarmed people standing near your home.

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.