There is a big risk that you have bought a stolen iPhone when using online markets such as eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Swappa, etc.
In this article, I will show you how to avoid making the same mistake again but more importantly if there is a way to unlock a stolen iPhone instead of simply selling it for spare parts.
Updated on 06/03/2019.
What drives someone to steal an iPhone?
In the overwhelming majority of cases, the thief doesn’t want the iPhone for himself but to sell it to others and of course, get cold hard cash.
This is a well-known tactic since I think that has happened to us all that a stranger has approached us on the street in order to sell something “not stolen but also in perfect condition”.
Online Markets: The easiest way to get a stolen iPhone
While few will make this mistake (I certainly do not), the anonymity of online shopping gives thieves the opportunity to sell you the stolen iPhone without see it coming, at least not before it’s too late.
When buying an iPhone online, whether new or second handed, you should always be very very careful.
Unfortunately, most online markets don’t know the real status of the iPhone but act as an intermediary and are based solely on the seller’s description, which is likely not the original owner.
Even Swappa, which is supposed to offer free ESN Check of an iPhone before you get it, the results are rarely accurate but mostly lacking in necessary information.
Bottom Line: If you’re an impulsive buyer that easily gets hooked at a cheap price for a used iPhone, you might end up buying a stolen iPhone.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
How to check if an iPhone is stolen
You could have avoided buying a stolen iPhone with a Full IMEI Check Service.
Even if the stolen iPhone has already been sent to you, IMEI Check remains not just important but essential part to any unlocking attempt (as I will explain in more detail in the next sections of this post).
The iPhone IMEI number is all it takes to instantly reveal all the device status information.
What to do if you bought a stolen iPhone
A used phone may have several problems with the SIM Lock being only one of them but what does it mean to us that it has been stolen?
- Either it is iCloud locked
- Or it is Blacklisted
- Or even worse, both
So let’s see what it takes to unlock a stolen iPhone.
When it is iCloud Locked and it was reported as LOST
iCloud locked means that iPhone still connects to the previous owner’s iCloud account. Without original owner’s Apple ID and password, you will not be able to skip the Activate iPhone screen once you turn on the device.
What you really need to keep in mind is that as long as the iPhone remains iCloud locked, there is no way to use it even if it is unlocked in all other areas. This means that if you don’t remove the iCloud account of the previous owner then all that’s left to do is selling it for spare parts.
There are two possible reasons why you bought an iCloud locked iPhone. One is that the previous owner frankly forgot to delete the iPhone from the iCloud account before selling it.
The other reason is that it is stolen or lost which means that the iPhone you purchased is reported lost in the Apple iCloud database.
In any case, you will be facing one of the 3 Activate iPhone screens below.
- If you were lucky in your misfortune, there may be contact details of the original owner. Don’t hesitate for one second to contact with him/her since experience has taught us that he will usually gladly accept to disable the iCloud lock since you both fell victim to the same thief. Just make sure you have the proof of purchase of the stolen iPhone handy.
- If you already see that the iPhone you bought has been reported as lost then, unfortunately, there is no online iCloud Unlock service for you. However, you still have some chances through Apple, the original owner, and some Activation Lock Screen Bypass methods. You can learn everything about them in the eBook below.
- Finally, if the iCloud Status is Clean, you can easily remove iCloud Lock in less than a week with an iCloud IMEI Unlock service.
So it turns out that after buying a stolen iPhone that is locked in iCloud, all that matters is its status. On several occasions, the only way to find it out is a Full IMEI Check.
When it is Blacklisted by a Mobile Network
If the original owner reports the theft on his Carrier, then the iPhone is automatically blocked by all national networks, and in some cases, the ban may also apply to neighboring countries.
The cleaning of a blacklisted iPhone is a special process and is not available for all networks. It is also very important if the phone is SIM locked or not, since in the first case you will need to unlock the SIM further if you don’t want to use a single network after you successfully unblacklist it.
Things are further complicated since you don’t always need to clean the blacklisted iPhone but only unlock the SIM with a Premium Factory service if of course, is available for this network depending on which countries you intend to use it.
Another striking example is the following 2 sub-cases:
iPhone reported stolen after purchase
- Here you are definitely a victim of fraud because you bought a used iPhone that was covered by a warranty (and is now blacklisted as replaced or fraud) or the previous user’s contract is still active.
Chimaera Device Policy
- Here we are dealing with a special Blacklist with a worldwide effect that is being applied by Apple itself to iDevices stolen directly from a store or a warehouse. If it turns out that the stolen iPhone you bought is under the Chimaera Device Policy, then there is no case of unlocking or cleaning it.
For better or worse, the only way to take into account all of the factors and to determine if there is any unlocking or cleaning service for a blacklisted iPhone (and which one you really need if not both) is nothing more than the Full iPhone Unlock Check.
What happens if you buy a stolen iPhone – The Conclusion
What I would like you to keep from this article is the extreme caution you must show in every effort to unlock a stolen iPhone.
Blacklisted, iCloud Locked or both, a Full iPhone IMEI Unlock Check would have saved you from buying it, but from then on, it remains the only way to find out if there are proper services available, how many of them you will need, and how much it will cost you in the end.