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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 15, 2015
2,196
1,694
Portland, Ore.
I bought a used iPhone 11 Pro on eBay and it turns out it was reported lost/stolen to AT&T. I checked the IMEI before I bought it on Swappa and a couple other sites and it came back clean/not blacklisted, and I checked it on Verizon's website and it says it's compatible so I assumed it's unlocked. So when I got the phone I tried putting my Verizon SIM in it and it wouldn't activate. It's locked to AT&T. So then I went to the AT&T unlocking page and I put in the IMEI and it says they can't unlock it because it was reported as lost or stolen. I then called AT&T and they weren't helpful. They told me they couldn't give me any information because I'm not an AT&T customer. They told me I could use the phone on AT&T, but they wouldn't verify if it was lost or stolen. Isn't that strange? If the AT&T stores were open I'd go down there and try to get some answers. I guess the best thing to do is just return it?

Update: Decided to send it back. Just in case it was lost or stolen I don't want any part of it. I read other posts where people bought a used AT&T iPhone that was clean and it became blacklisted a few months later because the original owner didn't pay bills or something. Since AT&T won't give out any info it's a roll of the dice if it's going to stay clean.

Update 2: The seller agreed to allow me to return it. I also was able to get more info from AT&T in an online chat. They verified the phone was being blacklisted because it was reported stolen and had an unpaid balance. They told me I don't need to file a police report because I didn't obtain it illegally and that I can keep it (I offered to surrender it to them or the police). They also said they could whitelist it if I could get the original owner to pay the bill (or I could pay it if they initiated it). I asked the seller about it and they are not the original owner. They buy and sell a lot of Apple stuff and said they thought the ESN was clean when they bought it (probably from the original owner). AT&T told me to call their customer service number to explore other options to whitelist the phone if I was unable to contact the original owner. The hold times were too long tonight so I'll try calling again later and see what options they have available before I send it back.

Update 3: I talked to the billing department at AT&T today and they told me the unpaid balance on the phone is $1200 (!) and they couldn't whitelist it even if I paid it because the original owner reported it lost/stolen and received an insurance replacement. Sounds like fraud if they sold it after that. It's definitely going back.

Helpful info for others: It looks like AT&T would allow a blacklisted phone to be whitelisted if it had an unpaid balance and was paid as long as it wasn't reported lost/stolen/replaced by insurance. So if that's the case on a device you bought give them a call.
 
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russell_314

macrumors 68020
Feb 10, 2019
2,345
2,979
USA
They shouldn't give you any information for the privacy of the person it was presumably stolen from.

It may also be "stolen" in that it was on an installment plan and the original owner skipped out on paying.
Unfortunately companies give out way too much personal information if you know what to ask. The good news is things are getting slowly better. I don’t think there is a way to activate an iPhone that’s been stolen but even if there was I don’t think it can be listed on these forms.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 15, 2015
2,196
1,694
Portland, Ore.
Well I started an online chat with AT&T and they assured me I could use the phone with their service on a post-paid plan. So I ordered one. I guess we'll find out.
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They shouldn't give you any information for the privacy of the person it was presumably stolen from.

It may also be "stolen" in that it was on an installment plan and the original owner skipped out on paying.

I don't want any information about whoever had it. I just want to be able to use it. From what I can tell it was on a business plan because when I entered the phone number listed in the phone on the unlock page it wanted a business name, so who knows what the story is.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 15, 2015
2,196
1,694
Portland, Ore.
AT&T has a link on their website to check if the phone is lost or stolen that goes to this site: stolenphonechecker.org. On there it says it's not reported lost or stolen. So I don't know why it comes back as that with the unlock request.
 
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pbonitati

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2015
141
159
Rhode Island
I've bought a Phone on Swappa once and it's IMEI number came back clean and showed unlocked. However, once I received the Phone it was already blacklisted and wouldn't activate. Worked with Paypal to get my money back, I'd say I worked with Swappa but they don't do a damn thing but collect money. I'd go for the return and minimize your headaches. Good luck
 
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Plutonius

macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
8,800
7,993
New Hampshire, USA
I bought a used iPhone 11 Pro on eBay and it turns out it was reported lost/stolen to AT&T. I checked the IMEI before I bought it on Swappa and a couple other sites and it came back clean/not blacklisted, and I checked it on Verizon's website and it says it's compatible so I assumed it's unlocked. So when I got the phone I tried putting my Verizon SIM in it and it wouldn't activate. It's locked to AT&T. So then I went to the AT&T unlocking page and I put in the IMEI and it says they can't unlock it because it was reported as lost or stolen. I then called AT&T and they weren't helpful. They told me they couldn't give me any information because I'm not an AT&T customer. They told me I could use the phone on AT&T, but they wouldn't verify if it was lost or stolen. Isn't that strange? If the AT&T stores were open I'd go down there and try to get some answers. I guess the best thing to do is just return it?

Send it back and get your money returned.
 
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MisterAndrew

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Sep 15, 2015
2,196
1,694
Portland, Ore.
All good now. Active and working on AT&T. Now if I enter the IMEI into the unlocking page it says they can't unlock it because I haven't had service for 60 days yet. I'll just stay on AT&T for now. Updates: see original post.
 
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