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SmartphonesTips & Tricks

How to Find Out if a Phone Is Stolen

When it’s time to upgrade your smartphone or tablet, it’s tempting to look for deals wherever you can find them. But just like long-term contracts that lock you in with a single provider, buying used presents considerable risk. Unless you are purchasing a used phone from a reputable dealer, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether or not you’re buying something that’s been stolen, that isn’t as advertised, or that won’t work with your carrier. Here’s an overview of what you need to know to protect yourself from risk and check if your phone is stolen.

Is My Phone Stolen: The IMEI Number Holds the Key

All mobile phones have an IMEI number, which is a unique identifying characteristic that can be traced. If a phone has been reported stolen, its IMEI number will be blacklisted, making it impossible to use a SIM card with it. A phone’s IMEI number is usually printed on the box it is sold in, if not on the device itself.

It can also be obtained by typing *#06# on the keypad. Once you have it, there are a number of online services you can use to determine whether or not it has been blacklisted. While this method won’t tell you outright whether or not a phone has been stolen, it’s often the best way to red flag a deal that should be avoided.

Checking Lock Status                                                                      

There’s an easy way to know whether or not an iPhone or other Apple device has been reported stolen. A feature known as iCloud Activation Lock allows users to report stolen devices and make them inaccessible to future users. Simply visit the activation lock site and, if you have the Apple ID or IMEI number of the phone, you can know instantly whether or not it has been reported stolen.

Use Common Sense When Buying a Used Phone

There is no one foolproof way to know if a phone has been stolen. Your best form of protection is your own common sense. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re buying a phone on Craigslist or a similar classified site, don’t deal with anyone you’re not comfortable dealing with. In many cities, local police offer protected zones where buyers and sellers can meet.

Your phone is something you’ll rely on every day. It’s worth it to spend the extra money and get a device you can trust. If you have an old phone you’d like to sell safely for a great price, check out The Whiz Cells today.