A Man Buys a Phone With a Magic SIM Inside, Part 2

Last week, an unnamed man bought a Sony Ericsson Smartphone from an importer. He found a working SIM inside. What he didn't know was that the SIM had unlimited free calling, it was a press SIM editors get to test phones with. Then he flipped it to his name. And got nailed with $8000 in phone charges. That's how I got wrapped up in this. The SIM was mine.

The phone importer wanted to know why the customer had tried to use the SIM as his own, and why the phone company flipped it in his name ignoring the fact the SIM was under the name "Media Phone".

The phone company wanted to know how I'd manage to send my SIM back, let it get in the hands of a civilian, and most importantly, how I'd racked up an $8000 bill since 2005. I swore I didn't call any 1-900 numbers, and never took them out on trips abroad.

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The man who bought the phone just wanted his damn money back.

The whole thing comes to a conclusion as the phone company realizes that the SIM, still under Media Phones, and linked to a random SS#, was being billed for all the press SIMs in the wild sharing the same social security digits. Hence the giant $8000 bill for one month for the 50 press SIMs this carrier has in the wild. So I was clear, the customer was in the clear, and everyone's happy.

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But the funny thing is, lots and lots of Editors abuse press SIMs. It's kind of an inside joke of the Phone PR industry, knowing who sent a test phone back with moantones and nasty voicemail messages, thousands of dollars in foreign phone bills. And actually, one of those 50 SIMs on the $8000 phone bill was on its way to being racked up to $2000, which was promptly shut down.

Here's one story:


...in this case we sent it to an editor who was at Cxxxx magazine, back in 2005...we tried to get this particular product back with the SIM but we couldn't (i can't remember if he just didnt send it or he couldn't find it)...it got into the wrong hands somehow (you know how all the magazines have a closet full of gadgets) and it was fine - no crazy use for the last 1.5 yrs UNTIL March when someone went to Mexico and used it like CRAZY to the tune of $1,700 + and counting...just this month - and all roaming calls back and forth between mexico and US...

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And another:


we gave a [redacted] (W/SIM) to an editor at OXXXXXX magazine and he actually ended up returning it a few months later. When we sent it back out to another editor they found all these downloaded porn pics (uploaded by this last editor) as well as a few voicemails on the phone/SIM from random people swearing and even one that had a strong sexual message to it.

After we found out about that, we checked the records and sure enough it was abused with 900 calls to sex lines and a few international calls that racked up roaming charges. nothing too bad - but a few hundred dollars worth of calls and downloads. We confronted him about it but he of course denied it all and said maybe someone at the magazine got a hold of it when he wasn't around....

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So, it happens all the time. Moral of the story is to download your porn on BitTorrent and make your international calls using Gizmo or Skype.

Man Buys a Phone With a Magic SIM Inside [Gizmodo]

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