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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 mekkab ( 133181 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:52PM (#42592759) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Sucks to be him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenh ( 9056 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:53PM (#42592781) Homepage Journal

    While frustrating for him, from the outside looking in, it's kinda funny. No matter what he does to assert his innocence, it will appear as lies to the owner of the missing phone...

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

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:57PM (#42592869)

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

    To me it seems no different than when religious folks or girl scouts knock on my door. Well other than I don't have your phone, am not interested in your myths, and would like one box of thin mints and one box of samosas.

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

    by hattig ( 47930 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:57PM (#42592879) Journal

    It's funny except that it's taking a lot of his time, it must be extremely stressful, the fact that people turn up at any time must be affecting his sleep, his mental state, and so on.

    And that's before someone turning up possibly gets violent.

    And their costs to get there. Why are they going? Because the police refuse to deal with stolen phone cases even where there is a GPS signal, so people go out on their own or with mates to reclaim their property.

    Quite clearly this problem needs a solution very soon before something bad happens.

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

    by berashith ( 222128 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @12:58PM (#42592907)

    For a long time I had a deadbeat using my phone number while obtaining lines of credit. The collectors would start calling and asking for her, and there was nothing that I could say to them to convince them that I did not know her, she did not live at my house, had never lived at my house, etc. It looks like lies no matter what, and these arent people who are willing to actually follow the laws about harrasment. They bothered me enough that I was ready to hunt her down for them.

  • by Press2ToContinue ( 2424598 ) * on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:02PM (#42592979)

    you would have to read it. I guess your idea sucks because he has put up a sign already and you didn't read enough to know it. Bright, you are not.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:06PM (#42593033) Journal
    Why do you think it is illegal to knock on someone's door to talk to them? That is NOT vigilantism, thats called BEING A MAN. I dont need the police to talk to another man about an issue, I only need them if we cant resolve it as men. When you grow up, you will understand.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wookact ( 2804191 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:08PM (#42593085)
    Yes, and the angry people are going to say thank you and walk away. Completely believing your story. These people are not like your average girl scout. They are mad, and they want their damn phone back. They will not be walking away when you give them your polite response. You thinking so, means you haven't thought this through.
  • Ill Advised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:17PM (#42593207)

    I would be ill advised for anyone tracking a phone to go to the address and accuse the occupants of having it.

    There are many possible outcomes, most are less than optimal.

  • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@NOSpAm.yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:27PM (#42593407) Homepage Journal

    really? ignoring the sign he posted, then knocking on someone door at 3AM becasue your crappy software popped up his address is being a man?
    And what other answer do you think you will get besides 'No, I don't have you phone' Do you think the thief will just hand it over?

    What if a woman wants to do it, does that count as being a man?

    How about: 'A civilized person goes to the house, and notes the sign then leaves?'

    vigilantism is an individual or group who undertakes law enforcement without legal authority. So yes, it is vigilantism.
    IN a civilized society, you accuse someone of a crime, and they defend there innocence. This man was constantly approached and forced to PROVE his innocence by vigilante

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:39PM (#42593631)

    All our guided-weaponry would bombard some random address, probably a good, wholesome family of 5.

    Yeah as if that doesn't happen all the time already

  • Hand Out News Copy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:01PM (#42593957) Homepage

    'It's very difficult to say, 'I don't have your phone,' in any other way other than, 'I don't have your phone.''"

    I suppose keeping some copies of this news article by the door and handing them out might help a bit.

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

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:02PM (#42593963) Homepage

    That would be incorrect. See Section 806 of the FDCPA, 15 USC 1692d [ftc.gov], which begins "A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt.". There's also a kicker in section 805(b), which prohibits a debt collection from communicating with any third party without the consumer's consent except for the specific purposes described in section 804 on locating the actual consumer. So yes, the FDCPA provides remedies and protections for people other than the consumer.

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

    by taustin ( 171655 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:21PM (#42594271) Homepage Journal

    That simply isn't true. Only the debtor can send a C&D under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. But anybody can send a C&D for any reason to any one at any time. Anti-harassment laws have nothing to do ith FDCPA.

    The difficulty is that debt collectors who call on the phone will always be out of state, and you have to sue them in their location, which means small claims it out. You'll have to hire a lawyer, pay thousands of bucks in legal fees you have no hope of recovering, and probably not be able to collect the actual judgement because most debt collectors have nothing to sieze anyway.

    Better to just convince them they're wasting their time. Make it clear that a) you're not afraid of them, because you know how powerless they are, b) you're going to waste as much of their time as you possibly can, thus costing them money, and c) you're going to be the biggest abusive prick you can possibly be over the phone, because they can't do anything about it.

    You might also start screening your calls with an answering machine that says "All calls will be recorded. By staying on the line to talk to a live person, you consent to being recorded." They hate court-admissible evidence.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:40PM (#42594591)

    Because we all know that everybody has access to exactly one phone in this world.

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

    by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @02:41PM (#42594603) Homepage Journal

    Makes me question why they need the physical unit.

    Inspect it, take photos, download storage. Document document document.

    Then give the fucking thing back!

  • Re:Ill Advised (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @09:45PM (#42599067)

    Here is Texas state law (others are similar):

    I asked for you to identify where you are, and instead you quoted law without indicating your location. From that, I can assume you shopped law for the 1/50 that you think best agreed with you. Lets have a look

    "Entry" means the intrusion of the entire body.
    a sign or signs posted on the property or at the entrance to the building, reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, indicating that entry is forbidden;

    So, if "no trespassing" is posted on the house (and in the real case here, there is no legal "no trespassing" sign, just a sign explaining they don't need to knock), that means they are only trespassing if their entire body enters the house in question.

    If people ignore clear "no trespassing" signs posted around your private home and refuse to leave when told to do so, you probably have good reason to believe that your life is at risk. It's not an automatic license to kill, but courts will generally side with the homeowner.

    Anyone who posts "no trespassing" around their home designed to block people from walking up to the front door is likely a nutter. Only people with guns looking to kill bother to post no trespassing. So I don't disagree with your assessment of risk, but someone getting killed who caused no harm seems a little excessive to me. If there was a crash outside your door, and nobody had a phone (or the crash was so serious everyone with one broke or lost it), and someone comes to knock on your door to ask for help, should they be executed for trying to get help for injured people?

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