Stolen Phone Diaries, Part 1: Uncovering the Roadside Calls-to-Cuba Business in Miami.
I'm still pretty outraged about my phone being stolen, and everything that has happened since. BUT, I think I've *accepted* everything enough, that I can write about it now, and at least pretend to laugh (...through the tears). Haha.
Anyways, Part 1: Uncovering the roadside calls-to-Cuba business in Miami.
I lock my phone, change my passwords for all connected accounts.
Ok, just keeping it safe. As soon as I realize my phone's missing, I lock it remotely. Then, I wait. Hoping someone's going to sign on and either try to reach out with me, or I'll be able to find the location online.
When I log onto my phone account, I find $4200 worth of international calls made to Cuba.
I remember I can check my call log by logging into my T-Mobile account.... and I find, much to my surprise, that the activity on my old number has been crazy active.
... and I. Am. Livid.
Basically, someone took the SIM card out of the phone, and either sold it, or themselves used that SIM card to make nonstop international calls.
But A-..... why didn't you cancel your SIM card immediately?
Well folks, this is why: I honestly, fundamentally just did not believe or expect that people really do this. In my mind, I still thought perhaps I really had only lost or misplaced my phone, and there was someone out there, waiting to return it to me.
Obviously, I was wrong.
Here's what went down:
As soon as I saw this activity, I called T-Mobile and froze the number. They told me I was still responsible for the $4200 worth of calls made on that number, but we'll come back to that later.
There are honestly four pages worth of logged calls to Cuba. Fortunately, mixed in there, there are 3 phone calls to Miami numbers. It's something to work off of, so I call the most recent of these numbers....
Miami woman tells me her friend, "Danny" called her, and they made a conference call together to her sister in Cuba.
The woman that picks up the phone is in Boca Raton, Florida. Unfortunately she doesn't speak a word of English, and my Spanish is a lot rustier than I would hope. After a while, I manage to communicate what's going on, and she's really sympathetic to my cause.
I tell her that my phone's been stolen, and now there are $4200 worth of international call charges on my phone bill. I tell her I need to track down who has my SIM card.
She says she's really sorry, and I had no idea. She gives me Danny's number - the guy who had called her from my phone number. She wishes me good luck and tells me to let her know what happens.
I call Danny, who tells me he's "not a bad guy", and he doesn't have my phone.
I call Danny. He picks up, and I start to tell him what's going on. [Again, no English]. He immediately hangs up on me, and when I try calling back, his phone is turned off.
When I try back in an hour, he picks up and - plot twist! - he gets mad at me!
He tells me he's talked to his friend, who called him a liar and a cheat. He tells me he's an honest guy, and hasn't done anything wrong here. He cusses me out in Spanish for about 2 minutes before I can interrupt him.
OK, I say. So you didn't steal the phone. But you used the card today to make a call - how? Can you help me figure out who did steal my phone, and who does have my SIM card??
Danny.... can't help me.
And I talk to two other people who received calls from my device, and no one can help me. (Also, no one speaks English, and I feel like my sadness and seriousness is not translating through the phone).
Basically, this is all they can tell me:
There is some guy, posted up in Little Havana, Miami, offering to make calls to Cuba.
And that's why the phone calls made using my SIM card have been non-stop, and almost always different numbers in Cuba.
Man, Miami has just been having a field day this week, re-connecting with family and friends in Cuba, on T-Mobile and my bill.....
You're welcome, guys.
After investing 4 hours in this investigation, I've given up being able to find this guy.