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Steve, Consultant
Category: Cell Phones
Satisfied Customers: 6993
Experience:  Sub vet, motorcycle enthusiast, Harley mechanic, father of 4 beautiful girls, educated in electronics and nuclear technology.
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can police trace a cell phone if you destroy the sim card.

Customer Question

can police trace a cell phone if you destroy the sim card. where is the thing in the phone that communicates with the tracing device that the police use? is it built in the phone or is it in the sim card. does the battery have to be inside. i heard when you call 911 it transmits you location. in particular please find out what parts of the LG TE365 phone needs to be intact for it to be traced?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cell Phones
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.

any cell phone that is ON can be located by triangulation between 3 cell towers.


all you have to do is turn the phone OFF. when OFF, it cannot be traced. when the phone is off, it does not communicate with cell towers and cannot be found.


the sim card is inside the battery compartment.

if you destroy the card, the phone will not work.


pre-paid cell phones cannot be traced back to the user, but can be located.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
can the phone be traced by 911 if 911 is called and the phone is off but the sim card is still inside and so is the battery? what if the sim card is taken out. is there some phone out there that can be traced without a sim card inside of it?
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.

if the phone is OFF, it cannot be traced. period.


if you call 911 on a cell phone, the police will instantly have the name and number of the person the phone is registered to (caller ID), but would have to determine the location of the phone at the time of the call from cell phone company records.


the sim card is only a piece of equipment that allows your phone to communicate with cell towers so you can send and receive calls. when ON, the cell phone constantly communicates with cell towers, looking for the best reception.

when the phone is off, everything is dead. removing the sim card and battery accomplish nothing. off is off.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
i once called 911 then i turned off my cell phone and police were still able to trace me to my exact location. they even managed to turn the cell phone back on. how
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.

your answer is stated above.


when you call 911, they have your information from caller ID.

the cell phone company can turn your phone back on, unless you remove the battery immediately afterward, but the police still have your name and number from the caller ID.

don't call 911 from a cell phone if you don't want the police to be able to identify you.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.
what if your number is blocked, then can they still identify you?
Expert:  Steve replied 5 years ago.

you should always assume law enforcement agencies have the ability to identify blocked cell callers.

again....if you don't want to be identified, don't call 911 on your cell phone.