Shopping Guide: Refurbished iPhones and how to make sure they are not stolen.
Now that carriers are offering consumers new installment plans, leasing options, or even Apple’s Upgrade Program offering a new iPhone annually, there is going to be an even larger market of used and refurbished iPhones available. If you are in the market for a replacement iPhone, there are ways to buy second-hand or reconditioned devices and save yourself hundreds of dollars. It is important however to beware of sketchy individuals trying to sell stolen iPhones. Listed below are some ways to check if the device was stolen.
Ask for serial number or IMEI
One of the primary ways a buyer can tell if the iPhone was stolen is by asking the seller for the serial number and/or IMEI of the handset. Ideally, by getting the seller to send a photo with this information, it is harder for a photo to be fake versus just getting a message containing the information. If the seller is hesitant about providing this information, we would suggest to walk away from the deal and try other merchant.
Check activation lock
After receiving the serial number or the IMEI, go online to Apple’s Check Activation Lock Status page on their official website and enter the information. This page will tell the potential buyer if the phone is locked for activation. If it is, you may request the seller to unlock it and try again. If the seller is unable to unlock the activation for any reason, it can be a red flag therefore you should walk away from the sale.
It is important to remember that Activation Lock has to be disabled before you get the iPhone or else you will not be able to use it. If the seller sends the device in the mail, be sure to check the serial number and/or IMEI on the refurbished device you receive and match it to the original information you were provided with.
Other suggestions while buying refurbished iPhones
While those two steps are the main ways to avoid scams and stolen Apple devices, here are some other tips. Choose a seller with a good reputation and be cautious with classifieds.
You are covered, online websites like eBay or Amazon will grant you a refund and free return shipping if things go bad.
If you are picking up the iPhone in person, you can get the seller to turn on or off “Find my iPhone” in front of you. If they can’t disable or re-enable it, then it can be bad news. For your safety, carry out sales in a public place, which preferably has Wi-Fi so you can test the phone, and do not feel rushed or bullied into the sale.
Finally, prior purchasing or finalizing the sale in person, verify that your SIM card works and that the handset has not been locked by the carrier.