ABC News is reporting the following:
Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.The phones — which do not require purchasers to sign a contract or have a credit card — have many legitimate uses, and are popular with people who have bad credit or for use as emergency phones tucked away in glove compartments or tackle boxes. But since they can be difficult or impossible to track, law enforcement officials say the phones are widely used by criminal gangs and terrorists.
“There’s very little audit trail assigned to this phone. One can walk in, purchase it in cash, you don’t have to put down a credit card, buy any amount of minutes to it, and you don’t, frankly, know who bought this,” said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI official who is now an ABC News consultant.
Law enforcement officials say the phones were used to detonate the bombs terrorists used in the Madrid train attacks in March 2004.
“The application of prepaid phones for nefarious reasons, is really widespread. For example, the terrorists in Madrid used prepaid phones to detonate the bombs in the subway trains that killed more than 200 people,” said Roger Entner, a communications consultant.
Now, should we be afraid of the quantity of these things? I mean, either there is a large number of people needing them, or they are just buying them in large quantities so they don’t have to go back for more. If there’s one thing we learned from the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the terrorists had a lot of money, paid cash, and didn’t mind doing things on the lavish side.
Still, to be safe, keep your eyes open!