How to minimize risk buying used iPhone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Mykyl<><, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Mykyl<>< macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2014
    I read all these horror stories of people who bought used iPhones on Craigslist or ebay and turns out the iphone is locked to iCloud because it is stolen. There is a lot of talk (you know who you are) about how they should have known better or should have had street smarts, but not much advise before hand on how to be a smarter buyer when looking at used phones. My hope is that this thread will help people like me who want to buy a used iPhone but haven' yet because I don't want to be the next victim on the suckers list, so what are some ways to minimize this risk to insure I get a used iPhone that is unlocked and not bricked, i.e., get what I paid for?
  2. iBlazed macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2014
    New Jersey, United States
    Use ebay. If you get a phone that's iCloud locked and it wasn't mentioned in the description, you are well protected with paypal. Paypal is completely biased toward the buyer.
  3. Mykyl<>< thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2014
    That is good, but what I want to minimize the risk and not have to go to the trouble of getting my money back. I want to buy a phone that I paid for, that is the goal. Thanks though.
  4. mustafu, Mar 8, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014

    mustafu macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2014
    How to minimize risk buying used iPhone?

    I don't doubt there's scammers on Craigslist, but some diligence on the buyers end can help substantially. As with all used phones, there's no stopping the original owner from reporting the ESN lost / stolen at any time. I got my i5 on CL and had the seller deactivate Find my iPhone and then do a reset in front of me.

    Swappa has a ESN checking service at

    eBay and PayPal are generally safer due to buyer protections, but prices tend to be much inflated IMO.
  5. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Nothing will be fool proof. I tell you this because I can buy a phone today, and a month from now the original owner can report it stolen. Hell, they can do this just because, no real reason, just to be a d*&K (you can look at step 3 to *maybe* nagate or reduce that risk some).

    That said, I have been buying phones (including an iPhone 5S about two months ago) for a while and have some guidelines.

    1. I ask for the box with matching IMEI. No box, no sale. No exceptions. I also like to ask for a receipt and am generally more willing to pay a little more for phones like this.

    2. I play with the phone, make sure all is working, and have them restore the phone in front of me. From there I set up my own login

    3. I meet at the [your carrier] store. I ask the reps to update the system and make notes that persons who have the rights to make account alterations made the trade on premises. They will get info from both parties to verify your identity. This all MAY not help, but it's an extra layer of security.

    4. If Apple Care + is being transferred I like to meet at Apple as well (maybe first). I realize this step isn't feasible for everyone; when we lived in IA the closest Apple store was 45 minutes away for me.

    Obviously the only purely safe bet is buying straight from Apple or your carrier. It's one of the reasons BRAND NEW phones are $100 (or more) cheaper than retail. My last bit of advice is that if getting scammed is going to financially ruin you, it's not worth it. If you have to go without a phone for months because someone screwed you, DON'T DO IT. If getting burned amounts to nothing more than a slap in the face, go for it. Scammers/theives are usually not going to be sophisticated enough to pass all three (or four with AC+) checks. The biggest risk you run is just that d-bag guy deciding he is going to report his phone stolen because he can.

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