New online tool allows shoppers to check for free if the used phone they buy online is lost or stolen
Even if it didn’t happen to you personally, you’ve surely heard about someone, a friend or relative of yours, who bought a stolen phone online. The truth is that this may happen to everyone. If you want to avoid such a situation then the new app from CTIA, a nonprofit organization representing the US wireless communication industry, may come as a remedy for accidental purchase of stolen used phones.
CTIA released a new tool allowing shoppers to check whether a phone they want to buy hasn’t been reported stolen or lost. The data base is already available for all customers for free.
As the name suggests, the Stolen Phone Checker from CTIA enables its users to check whether the phone they plan to buy hasn’t arrive from an illegitimate source. The app allows you to search if the handset you want to buy has been reported stolen or lost. The service is available completely out of charge to any mobile user who simply want to make sure that the phone they’re buying comes from a trustworthy source. All you need to do is to enter the device’s IMEI, ESN or MEID number. However, note that although law enforcement agencies will have an unlimited access to the database, a regular user can check only up to fives IMEIs.
Each of the code is unique and works as the device ID. The IMEI number is usually set on the back of devices, including Apple’s iPhones. If you can’t find it there, you simply need to enter setting section, head the about menu and retrieve the IMEI.
Checking if a device isn’t a stolen one before buying it is important for many reasons. First of all you don’t want to break a law and help thieves earn money on dishonest practices. Secondly, if the phone you buy proves to be stolen or lost it simply won’t work. Why? Several years ago US mobile service providers joined their efforts and created a shared database of stolen phone IDs. In practice it means that if a phone is in the list the carrier won’t activate the handset on their network.
As you see the CITA’s tool isn’t a real innovation. There are a many third-party tools out there to lockup a stolen phone. However, the Stolen Phone Checker app has the advantage of the easiest to remember name. If you’re going to buy a second-hand handset from Craigslist, eBay or any other used phone seller, you’d better check the phone’s ID first using one of the available websites.
Concluding, always before purchasing a used phone you’d better ask the seller for the IMEI number and check whether it isn’t recorded stolen or lost. If a seller doesn’t want to hide something he will surely share the IMEI number. Remember any resistance to giving a number should raise your suspicion then better stay away from such a deal.