Apparatus for identifying wireless subscriber units and for determining if access to a communications network should be granted. A plurality of wireless subscriber units each generates a wireless subscriber signal including internal data traits and external signal traits. The internal data traits include an identification code. A RF downconverter is located remote from the wireless subscriber units and receives the wireless subscriber signal. A characterizing device is connected to the RF downconverter and extracts parameters that characterize the external signal traits of the wireless subscriber units. A decision device computes the likelihood that the observed parameters belong to the validated wireless subscriber unit to determine if access to the wireless subscriber service should be granted. The apparatus may be used to prevent cellular telephone cloning fraud.