How Can You Tell If You're Buying A Stolen Phone?

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  1. Remordere

    Remordere Well-Known Member

    I just read in another thread that someone apparently bought a phone then got block. I was wondering if there is a site that tells you about phones that have been stolen.

    I work in a cell phone store and we buy and sell second hand phones but I don't want to buy any stolen merchandise, so in order to protect the store and report anyone who is trying to sell stolen phone, is there a way to know?

  2. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    I do know at Cash Converters in the UK, they have some kind of IMEI database they can check phones against.

    I remember someone trying to sell a Motorola phone to the local Cash Converters. They checked the Motorola phone's IMEI against the database and it came up as a Sony-Ericsson. Evidently the phone's IMEI had been changed illegally, so obviously something was fishy here.

    When Cash Converters is buying anything like this, they keep it for a few days before handing over any money. Presumable to do more thorough checks on it, and make sure everything is OK with it.
  3. Remordere

    Remordere Well-Known Member

    I wish there was a database online where you can check stolen/lost phone. My boss and I think we shouldn't buy any more "used" phones. Because last month, we got sued for buying stolen merchandise, luckily the thief gave his real name and address and he got the handcuffs instead though. Someone suggested we not buy any more second hand units but that would cripple our income.
  4. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    It might be the only thing you can do. The person selling the phone must prove that it's actually his/her own phone to sell.

    Not sure what database Cash Converters is actually using, but I do know that the GSM Association maintains the main IMEI database and blacklist of stolen phones. Cash Converters been a large multinational franchise operation, may well have access to that database.
  5. Remordere

    Remordere Well-Known Member

    Actually that is a problem. In this country, not everybody has IDs and we would lose a lot of customers this way.
  6. mikedt

    mikedt 你好 Guide

    Could you liase with the local police, maybe they have a regularly updated list of reported stolen phones. What do other second hand dealers in your country do about this problem?

    BTW here in mainland China, there is almost no market at all for second hand cellphones. People must have 'new' everything, it's part of the culture here. In fact many would actually buy a fake new iPhone(with Android) over a used authentic one.
  7. wayrad

    wayrad Well-Known Member

    You might check the laws for pawnshops and secondhand stores. In states I've lived in where pawnshops were legal, I think the store would turn over a list of what they'd taken in to the police at intervals to be checked against stolen property reports. I don't think they were allowed to sell merchandise until it had cleared. Are there any rules like that where you are?
  8. AndroidSPCS

    AndroidSPCS Well-Known Member

    I would suggest calling the carrier the phone is branded under, making sure the IMEI / ESN is clear.
  9. sonofaresiii

    sonofaresiii Well-Known Member

    For personal transactions, I always recommend meeting at the carrier's store and having them activate the phone on-site as you buy it.

    As per your question, for Verizon at least (and I believe many other carriers) there are websites (don't remember them offhand) where you can enter ESN/IMEI numbers and check if it's clean.

    I wouldn't put too much stock in that, though, as it's fairly easy to get around it (such as selling the phone the day before the account gets blocked). Thieves are pretty crafty with these things. If you can't activate it on-site (which you may not be able to do, since you're buying for a business) it might be best to just not buy the phones anymore... as there is a good chance that even if it's clean when you get it, it will be blocked afterwards.

    Or just have a strict identification policy. Have the person fill out forms with their name, address, etc., and verify with driver's license. That way if something goes wrong, you can find them (and put the jerk in jail).
  10. snapper.fishes

    snapper.fishes Well-Known Member

    May be that's true where YOU live. There's a thriving second hand market in Guangdong. China is a big place, my comrade.
  11. Swipe

    Swipe Well-Known Member

    Hello, as the thread starter is from the Philippines, I might have a few insights on the second hand cell phone buying.

    The theft of cell phones has increased this year almost 10 are reported stolen. This phones are being sold to second hand stores. Everywhere you can buy and sell "second hand" cell phones with no questions ask.

    The government has the NTC that help track this stolen phones. But sadly many people say including myself this NTC is all bullcrap.

    My father lost an iPhone despite having a tracker the NTC didn't recover the phone. He has all the info

    The government can't help stolen cell phone, even when it can be traced. I don't think any thing can happen when your phone is stolen no matter how much information you have.

    I think the only reason you got fine is that the police force is having low on funds and just trying to fine your ass in anything they can fin you with. You know as well as I that this is true.

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