Buying a used phone is a great way to upgrade to a better device without burning an enormous hole inside your pocket.
With that said, buying a used phone is a tricky undertaking. Particularly because of people with bad intentions looking to scam unsuspecting buyers.
One popular scam is selling off stolen phones.
For a buyer, purchasing a stolen phone, even unknowingly, can turn out to be an invitation for unnecessary trouble.
From losing your money on a phone that probably won’t work to dealing with law enforcement authorities and explaining to them that you didn’t steal the phone, it can become a cause of a lot of stress.
Thankfully, it is very easy for conscious buyers to check if they are buying a stolen phone. In this article, we will walk you through the steps using which, you can check if the phone you are about to purchase is stolen or not.
Ask The Seller For The IMEI Number
The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is a unique number that is associated with each mobile device, including tablets.
This IMEI number can be used to insurance companies and law authorities to block phones that have been reported stolen or lost.
Hence, used phone buyers must enquire about the IMEI number of the device they are about to purchase. If the device is stolen, chances are, the seller will avoid giving you the IMEI number.
Use The IMEI Number To Check The Status Of The Phone
Once you have obtained the IMEI number, you can use a free IMEI checker tool to verify if you have received the IMEI of the device in question.
When you enter the IMEI number into the tool, it will present the basic information about the phone, including the make, model, and year of manufacture. You can cross verify this information with the information provided to you by the seller to make sure you have received the correct IMEI number.
Moreover, the IMEI checker tool will also tell you if the IMEI number you have entered is ‘bad’ or ‘blacklisted’.
What Is ‘Bad’ Or ‘Blacklisted’ IMEI?
A ‘bad’ or ‘blacklisted’ IMEI number is one that is associated with a device that has been reported lost or stolen. By blacklisting an IMEI number, law enforcement authorities are able to block the device from functioning.
This means, you may be able to switch on a blacklisted phone, but it will not get any reception or be able to make any calls or connect to the internet.
Moreover, law enforcement authorities can even use the IMEI number to track a stolen device once it has been switched on.
Performing A Live, Physical Check
When you purchase a used phone, it is recommended to meet the buyer in person before completing the transaction. This way, you can check the device before paying them.
When you are testing the various features of the device, it is also advisable to re verify the IMEI number of the device when you still have it in your hand.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to run the IMEI number through the IMEI checker tool again. Simply have the IMEI number that the seller originally shared with you handy, and verify the number you see in the phone.
To do this, dial *#06# into the dialer of the phone and you’ll see the IMEI displayed on the screen.
Besides checking the IMEI, you should also ask the seller to provide you with the original bill and packaging of the device. Most genuine users retain these. However, simply having or not having the original box and bill of the device is not enough proof to verify whether or not the device is stolen.
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