Claim: A free web site allows users to track the location of any cell phone.
Examples: [Collected via e-mail, April 2007]
I received this email today from a “Peace Officer”. I live in Edmonton Alberta Canada. And I was just wondering if this is for real or a hoax.
Check this out! Enter your phone number and watch it trace your exact location.
Another example of Big Brother is watching and what you can do with satellites and GPS systems!
Try out this mobile phone tracker, it’s great, using a satellite map to track any connected mobile phone with coverage anywhere in the world!!!!
Go to the link below and type in a friends cell phone number or anyone that you want to track be sure and include the area code!
I know where you have been.
Origins: One pervasive modern concern is the efficiency with which sensitive personal information (e.g., names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers) can be acquired and stored, and the ease with which it can be retrieved (particularly by persons not authorized to access it). Such concerns are exemplified by the plethora of reader inquiries we periodically receive about the ZabaSearch Public Information Search Engine.
Expressions of society’s fears and concerns frequently turn up both as the subjects of urban legends and as the punchlines to jokes, the latter exemplified by prank web sites that seemingly provide all comers with frighteningly easy (and free) access to personal information but really offer nothing more than silly gags as payoff. As we noted in our article about one such prank, simply visiting one of these sites and attempting to look up a “record” is sufficient to dispel the concern that they might be real (if for no other reason than that they don’t ask for nearly enough information to uniquely identify a person), but many viewers are hesitant to try for fear
the information they enter will be collected by someone who might use it for illegitimate (or even illegal) purposes.
A mobile phone tracking web site (that supposedly uses GPS technology to pinpoint the location of any cell phone whose number is entered by a user) seems like a good
We won’t give away the punchline here; we’ll just repeat a bit of basic advice: If you’re unsure whether a site that purportedly collects personal information (and displays even more personal information in response) is legitimate, enter some fictitious but properly formatted data and see what happens. If it’s a joke, you’ll soon find out; if the results are inconclusive, you are no worse off than you were before (and you haven’t revealed anything useful in trying). If the site rejects your information (even though it’s properly formatted), that may be an indication the site is indeed tied into a database that can access personal information and merits further investigation. The simplest answer is usually the correct one, however: someone’s having one over on you.
Last updated: 14 July 2011
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.