Grand Theft Mobile

It may be easy to report and track stolen smartphones in the UK, but that's not preventing some of the country's shops from selling these ill-gotten handsets. A BBC undercover operation has revealed that at least eight stores in London are willing to buy stolen phones, even when the hardware is obviously locked down. One of the locations was only willing to make an exchange outdoors, but none of them were seriously concerned about a run-in with the law.

It's not hard to understand why retailers would be so brazen. As forensics experts will tell you, it's easy to stop tracking if you can restore a phone's software. You can also change a device's unique IMEI number to get around attempted service blocks. It's uncertain what will happen to the stores caught by the BBC op, but they're likely just the tip of the iceberg -- until kill switches and other more serious anti-theft measures come into play, you'll want to be careful about using your phone on the street.