Is it safe to buy a Verizon iPhone 5S off Craigslist?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by nardow12, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. nardow12 macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2011

    I'm planning on getting an iPhone 5S and use it on T-Mobile network, may also use it aboard with GSM carriers when I travel. (Have Sprint right now, really tired of their slow data)

    When I was searching on Craigslist there are some Verzion iPhone 5S available for pretty good prices. Maybe $100 or $200 more than the contract price.

    I have never bought an iPhone off Craigslist before so got a couple of questions if anyone could please answer.

    1. If the phone is not physically damaged, is there anything other than BAD ESN that I should worry about?

    2. If I got a Verizon iPhone 5S, and it turn out to be one with a BAD ESN, does it prevent me from using it with T-Mobile's GSM network in the US? Or it just mean I can't use it on Verzion?

    3. What else should I watch out for when buying a Verizon iPhone on Craigslist?

    Thanks :)
  2. mactumors macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2008
    1. I would ask for a receipt if available.

    2. If the device has a bad ESN then you won't be able to use it on Verizon. That shouldn't matter to you. A Verizon iPhone 5s with a bad ESN should work fine on T-Mobile. It might be stolen, but it will work fine. If it has a bad ESN because it was stolen, then that might get reported to Apple too. I wouldn't take it to an Apple Store. The warranty might be useless.

    3. You've really found the iPhone 5S on craigslist for only $100-200 above the contract price? I'm already suspicious.
  3. Diseal3 macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2008
    If the phone has a bad esn it won't work on verizon but it will work with tmobile. Just make sure the phone find my phone is off and you don't get screwed with activation lock.
  4. SuperKirby macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2011
    LAS / OKC
    Anything bought off CL is ALWAYS considered sketchy until proven safe. Make sure the seller has a receipt or something that shows you it's fine. You can always ask to meet in a crowded location and check it out yourself.

    Whenever I sell on CL, i've noticed women always ask me to see the item in a crowded location, whereas men just show up at my place. Yes, I know the latter isn't safe but I live in a crowded area and am I man. lol
  5. sillywabbit macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    Fact: There is no such thing as $100/$200 over contract for a 5s.
  6. Fdfan100 macrumors member

    Mar 28, 2013
    I've see a few on my local CL, but most of them have the iOS 7 activation lock, which is why people are selling them low.
  7. BlueGoldAce macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2011
    Meet them at a verizon store if your worried about the esn. Meet them at at mobile and have it activated , then pay them.
  8. sk24iam macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2009
    This is great advice. If the seller is not willing to meet you at the Verizon store there is a chance they are up to something sketchy. Before you meet, check the phone's ESN if they are willing to provide it. Also see what comes up when you search the person's name on google and facebook.
  9. sillywabbit macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2012
    The seller can sell report it stolen after the buyer met at the Verizon store and had the phone activated.
  10. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Make sure it doesn't have an activation lock.
    If the seller tells you he forgot his apple id and password and to just restore it and will go away then walk away.
  11. Nolander07 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    I personally would never buy anything like that from Craigslist. That's just me though.
  12. acctman macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2012
    met at a verizon store or pop in your tmobile sim right then and there... test everything first.
  13. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Do the transaction in a safe place. I like Starbucks for this because you have free WiFi and everything if some reason you don't have fast data. Also Starbucks has surveillance, so if for some reason the seller later accuses you of stealing the phone, you have evidence.

    Inspect the device for damage with a flashlight. Check the screws on the bottom that it isn't worn from opening. The serial might not match the box due to a warranty exchange so that's not always reliable. Personally I never sell with headphones due to hygienic reasons, but be alert if it's just a phone and not even a cable.

    Turn it on. If you have a computer, bring it so you can restore the iPhone to factory conditions. If you need the IPSW, you can download it here:,1_7.0.3_11B511_Restore.ipsw
    (Please don't wait until you meet the seller to download this because nobody wants to sit around waiting for a download to finish)
    Make sure there is no activate lock on the phone.

    Remember it's better to be safe than sorry. If, for whatever reason you feel the transaction is suspicious or it just feels "weird," thank the seller and walk away. Don't feel pressured to buy something from someone just cause they said they drove 6 hours to meet you, or the price is too good to pass up. (And example would be you were being offered an iPhone with glitter and pink pony accents from a burly guy; this would raise a lot red flags for so I would just walk away).

    Good luck with your purchase!
  14. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is.
  15. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere


    Apr 16, 2008
    At the iPhone hacks section.
    Bam, rule number 1 right there.
    Use common sense. If its too good to be true then be cautious.
    It could also be a setup...
  16. aneftp macrumors 601

    Jul 28, 2007
    Kinda of sucks for honest sellers on Craigslist like me.

    I always keep original receipt (with serial number on it) along with matching original box.

    I've never had issues selling on Craigslist. Always post I have receipt box etc.

    Always 10% of shady people committing 100% of the bad sells.
  17. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    I'l give you that. I trust a seller much more when he presents the original receipt and he claims the device is brand new or like-new.

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