Yeah, thats what ALWAYS scares me about online trading. You get a phone, even if they give you the esn before shipping. Soon as you get it, they call say phone is stolen. Then you're stuck with a phone that is basically an mp3 player.
Thats why I always call verizon or whoever and explain to them that I will be buying an item from the person and give them their name and esn, that way if they try to say the phone is lost vzw calls bs on them.