Smartphones are expensive, and you don’t always have an extra $1,3000 to buy the latest and greatest device. That’s why some people turn to secondhand phones to save money. But how do you know that the used gadget isn’t stolen?
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) is a unified force dedicated to the entire industry, including consumers like you. The group offers anybody buying a used phone a database tool to prevent purchasing a stolen phone without realizing it.
Read on to learn more about the site and how to avoid purchasing stolen property.
Here’s the backstory
Good news for everyone in the market to buy a used phone. A free online tool has been set up to confirm the device isn’t stolen goods.
To verify the status of a secondhand phone, visit the Stolen Phone Checker homepage. By clicking the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner, you’ll see that sections are devoted to a few different sides of the law: consumers, retailers, and law enforcement.
Here’s how to use the site.
First, you’ll need to get the device’s serial number, IMEI, MEID or ESN. If the seller can’t provide it, you might consider this a red flag. Ask them to dial *#06# if they claim they are unsure how to find the phone’s identifying code. Dialing this on your phone gives you the necessary information on your device.
Once you’ve got the info, all you have to do is:
- Click Consumer on the homepage.
- Plug in your phone’s serial number or any of the above numbers.
- Confirm that you’re not a robot by clicking the CAPTCHA box.
Afterward, you’ll be whisked to a page with information like the model, manufacturer, and device status. The site advises avoiding buying the phone if the information displayed doesn’t match the device’s listing or description.
The next time you buy a used smartphone online or in person, we recommend using this tool for full disclosure. Why get caught up in somebody else’s crime or a misleading transaction?
Tips for buying a secondhand phone
Your passcode might not be enough to keep a thief from getting information from your stolen phone, which is why we love tools like this. A few other tips for buying a used phone the right way include:
- Use reputable retailers, marketplaces, and apps, like Amazon, Swappa, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace.
- Check out seller ratings before choosing a device.
- Ask lots of questions and, if possible, see the device in person before buying it.
- Make sure the seller allows returns if something goes wrong after you purchase the phone.
Buying a used phone is economical, environmentally friendly and easy. After doing your due diligence, you can move forward confidently. The CTIA’s phone checker is one of the best places to begin.