IMEI is abbreviated form for “International Mobile Equipment Identity”,which is a 15- or 17-digit code that uniquely identifies mobile phone sets. The IMEI code can enable a GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) or UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service) network to prevent a misplaced or stolen phone from initiating calls.
In most mobile communications devices, the IMEI appears on the display when the user enters the character sequence *#06# (star-hash-zero-six-hash) into the keypad. The IMEI code may also be printed inside the battery compartment. Some of the smartphones also provide IMEI number on the box label.
When a phone set is lost or stolen, the owner can call the CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register) and blacklist the device according to its IMEI number. After that action, the set will in most cases become useless, even if someone swaps out the unit’s SIM(subscriber identity module) Card. However, although it is not an easy task, a skilled and determined cracker can sometimes change the IMEI number and use a stolen set to place calls.
BEST WAY TO GET TO KNOW. YOUR PHONE BETTER. Every mobile phone, GSM modem or device with a built-in phone / modem has a unique 15 digit IMEI number. Based on this number, you can check some information about the device, eg brand or model. – IMEI.INFO
Immediately after purchasing a mobile communications device, the owner should record the IMEI code in a secure place so that it can be quickly accessed in the event of loss or theft.
Image from: galaxyunlocker.com and androidandme.com