12-year-old Mumbai boy tracks missing mobile phones
Mansoor Nasir Shaikh, 12, had not used a smartphone until about four months back. He started using a laptop only two months ago when his school switched to online classes because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The boy was immediately hooked on the gadgets so much so that he learnt tracking lost mobile phones by reading about the technique to do so on the internet much to the surprise of his parents, constables Nasir Shaikh and Rehana Shaikh. The parents came to know about Mansoor’s ability to locate lost phones when he tracked his cousin’s phone after she had left it in a taxi while travelling from Mumbai Central to Mahim on August 19.
Mansoor began working on tracking the phone as he overheard his aunt seeking his mother’s help in finding it. He immediately contacted his cousin, Muskan Bagwan, and took her phone’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number and began tracking it. Within 35 minutes, he located the phone worth Rs 27,000 to an area in Mumbai’s Malad. Mansoor zeroed on the location of the phone and asked his mother’s friends, Archana Bhosale and Madhavi Bhosale, who live in Malad to locate the taxi. But by the time they reached the spot, the taxi had moved from Malad to Goregaon.
Archana spotted the cab parked near Oberoi Mall and it matched with the description that Muskan had given, said Nasir Shaikh. But the driver had by then left the cab after parking it, he added. Mansoor then remotely locked the phone and sent a message which reflected on the screen of the phone saying: “I am a policeman and this is my daughter’s mobile phone.” Nasir said he did this to scare the cab driver, and also to prevent personal photos or videos from being misused. “And also to ensure if some other person finds it, he or she may return it to the actual owner,” said Nasir Shaikh.
The next day Nasir Shaikh went to Goregaon with his niece and recovered the lost phone.
“The cab driver, who was in his 60s, told us that he had planned to hand over the phone to a taxi union’s office in Mumbai Central. He did not even know how to use a smartphone. The driver was not lying so we did not make any complaint and allowed to go him,” Nasir Shaikh said.
Mansoor had come across the hidden mobile tracking system of his phone while exploring its applications. “I then thoroughly read about it on the internet and learnt how to use it. The system is generally hidden in the phone and people are not aware of it. It uses the IMEI number of the device, a phone user’s email ID and password,” he said. “The system tracks the email and the device through IMEI and GPS. The system can be enabled by putting a phone’s details in it and once enabled the system gives control to the owner to active ringtone mode from vibration mode, lock the phone’s screen remotely and post an emergency message on the mobile’s screen.”
Mansoor said stories of people like slain Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashok Kamte, who was killed in 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, inspire him. “I heard his stories from my parents and read about him on the internet. I want to become an IPS officer like him.”
Mansoor has also demonstrated his mobile tracking skills to Mumbai cyber police department.