If you have unknowingly bought a stolen iPhone from eBay or Craigslist, then this article is for you. Learn how you can determine if you bought a stolen iPhone. How to unlock and use a stolen iPhone, and how a complete iPhone IMEI check can help you do this.
Have you Bought a Stolen iPhone from eBay or Craigslist?
What does a thief do with an iPhone he stole? He sells it to get cash from it. Most likely, he didn’t steal it for his own use but rather to sell it to others.
When buying an iPhone online, whether it is brand new or second hand, you should always be vigilant. There are a lot of sellers online that offers stolen iPhone. If you are an impulsive buyer who easily gets hooked with a cheap price for an iPhone, you might end up buying a stolen iPhone.
Let’s say, you have trusted the seller’s description that the iPhone is clean and not stolen, so you made the purchase. However, when the iPhone was shipped to you, you cannot activate it. It asks for the Apple ID and Password but you can’t contact the seller anymore.
Unfortunately, you have probably bought a stolen iPhone.
How to Check if you Bought a Stolen iPhone
If the iPhone was already shipped to you and you can’t use it, you may suspect that it is a stolen iPhone. There are ways you can check if you have bought a stolen iPhone.
Check iCloud Activation Lock: Lost Mode
iCloud locked iPhone means the iPhone is still linked to the previous owner’s iCloud account. Without his Apple ID and Passcode, you will not be able to activate the iPhone.
There are two possible reasons why you got an iCloud locked iPhone. One is that the previous owner honestly forgot to erase the iPhone from his iCloud account before selling it. Another reason is that you got a stolen iPhone.
With Apple’s strong security measures, the iPhone owner has a way to avoid others from using his iPhone if ever it gets stolen through Find My iPhone app.
When the “Find My iPhone” app is activated, Activation Lock can deter anyone from inappropriately using your device. If you misplaced your iPhone, you should put it into Lost Mode immediately with Find My iPhone. To do this, sign in to www.icloud.com/find from a Mac or PC using your iCloud log in ID.
Lost Mode allows you to lock your screen with your passcode and display a custom message. You may include your phone number within the message to help you get your iPhone back. You can also erase your lost or stolen device from your Apple ID account. Moreover, your custom message will continue to display even after the device is erased.
How to Check if your iPhone is iCloud locked
An iCloud locked iPhone Activation Lock screen will differ based on its iCloud status.
If the iPhone is still linked to an Apple ID account, the Activation Lock screen will ask for the Apple ID that was used to set up the iPhone.
This might be the case for previous owners who sold their iPhone but forgot to erase it from their iCloud account. This is much easier to unlock with the help of the previous owner.
Another screen shows that the iPhone is reported as lost or stolen. Same if it has been erased from the iCloud account of the previous owner. The Activation Lock screen will still ask for the Apple ID and Passcode that were used to originally set up or erase the iPhone.
This screen is straightforwardly telling you that someone else (aside from the owner) might inappropriately possess the iPhone. Meaning, it might be a stolen iPhone.
Check Blacklist Status
An iPhone is blacklisted when it is found in the global blacklist database of network carriers. When an iPhone is blacklisted, it prevents anyone from activating the iPhone with any network carrier until it has been removed from the list.
An iPhone reported as lost or stolen gets in the blacklist through its IMEI number. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. Every mobile device has it unique 14 to 16 digits IMEI number.
Wireless network carriers are the ones responsible for putting an iPhone on the blacklist. The top two reasons why an iPhone gets blacklisted are: (1) it was reported as lost or stolen and (2) the iPhone is acquired with outstanding and unpaid bills.
Complete iPhone IMEI Check
iCloud Activation Lock and Blacklist status can both be determined if you cannot activate your iPhone. However, in case of iCloud lock, there are cases where the previous owner only put the iPhone in Lost Mode when you have already bought it from the seller. Thus, it worked as first then subsequently locked you from using it.
Same with blacklisting an iPhone, it does not happen immediately. When an iPhone gets reported as lost or stolen, it can be blacklisted only after you bought it.
If you want to make sure if you bought a stolen iPhone, you should have a complete iPhone IMEI check.
iPhone IMEI Check by UnlockSpector
An iPhone IMEI check will reveal hidden issues with your iPhone using only the IMEI number. UnlockSpector is a trusted and reliable custom IMEI checker. They offer step-by-step instructions on how to check your iPhone IMEI. Below are the hidden but common iPhone issues that they will check for you:
- SIM Lock Status Check – Check in real-time if your iPhone is currently locked or unlocked.
- Global Blacklist & Stolen Check – Check if your iPhone is blacklisted, reported as lost or stolen.
- Apple Replacement Check – Check if your iPhone was refurbished and has a replaced IMEI.
- Initial Lock Network Check – Find out which Network / Carrier is locking your iPhone.
- iCloud Activation Lock Check – Check if your iPhone is locked through iCloud’s “Find my iPhone”.
- Warranty Status Check – Check if your iPhone is eligible for AppleCare support.
Is there a way to Unlock Stolen iPhone?
Yes, there is. Firstly, you need to have a Complete iPhone IMEI check in order to know the lock status of your iPhone. If it is iCloud locked, you will be recommended legal ways on how to unlock Activation Lock. If it is blacklisted, they will reveal which network locked it and recommend unlocking solutions.
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