Sellers Reporting "Stolen" After Selling

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sunsetblow, Jun 29, 2015.

  1. sunsetblow macrumors regular

    sunsetblow

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    #1
    I know that there's the very common scam of people selling a phone and then reporting it stolen a few weeks later in order to get reimbursed by their insurance.

    My question is: if I buy a phone after the seller has removed their iCloud account (obviously, first thing to check for), and I add my Apple ID + register the phone at https://appleid.apple.com as one of my trusted devices, does that effectively signify that the phone is rightfully mine and cannot be reported "stolen" by the previous owner?

    It's really discomfiting to know that a buyer has no recourse in regards to this scam. We really should be able to at least protect ourselves once the legit barriers against theft are gone (iCloud lock, etc.)
     
  2. canman4PM macrumors 6502

    canman4PM

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Kelowna BC
    #2
    Create a printed (not hand written) receipt with as much info on it as you can get from the seller prior to meeting for the final sale. You want the year, make, model, description, serial number, price, yours and the seller's names and a place for each of you to sign and date. Any of the above info you don't have prior to seeing the seller, leave a blank space for it and hand fill when you meet and get an initial on each blank that is hand filled. Sight their ID and confirm that both the seller's face and signature both match. All Canadian and U.S. Drivers licences and State and Provincial issued IDs have a photo and signature on them. As do all passports.

    Example:

    "I canman4PM, have sold to sunsetblow, my Black 2012 64GB iPhone 4S, S/N _______________FOR $100.



    ______________________________________ ______________________
    canman4PM Date


    ______________________________________ ______________________
    sunsetblow Date"

    In the above example, the serial number would be hand filled, initialled by you both and signed/dated at the bottom. SIGHT THE SELLER's ID!! Make sure they are who they say they are. That's the best you can do to protect yourself. Your responsibility is to not just blindly buy the thing. You must take reasonable steps to make sure the seller is the owner. You could also insist they not blank the phone until you've seen their name on it, to make sure they are legit.

    Be very careful if they say they are selling the item on behalf of someone else. In British Columbia (and I assume most Common Law jurisdictions (Canadian provinces, U.S. States, UK, Australia, etc), if you innocently buy stolen property, the property is forfeit to the rightful owner, with no compensation to the innocent buyer. I've seen a situation where a guy bought a car from someone claiming to be selling it for their dad, with a forged signature on the title transfer documents used in BC. When the owner reported that the car was stolen, a flag went into the Motor Vehicle system, preventing the the title transfer and telling the Motor Vehicle person to call the police. The police came and after being convinced the buyer was innocent, confiscated the car and returned it to the rightful owner. The buyer was out the amount he paid for the car.

    Caveat Emptor - let the buyer beware.

    If it smells funny, or the seller is reluctant to comply, walk away. There are millions of other phones, etc out there to buy.
     
  3. canman4PM macrumors 6502

    canman4PM

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Kelowna BC
    #3
    Oh, and when you sight the ID, it's a good idea to write down the ID's number on your copy of the bill of sale.
     
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #4
    Obviously the buyer should immediately go to the police and charge the seller (the son) with fraud. Which should be very easy to prosecute with lots of evidence there.
     
  5. canman4PM macrumors 6502

    canman4PM

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2012
    Location:
    Kelowna BC
    #5
    'Twasn't the son who sold the car. It was the guy who stole the car.
     
  6. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #6
    Well, there are (at least) two possibilities - they're selling it then committing insurance fraud. Or the phone is stolen and the person selling it is the thief (or received it from the thief), so the report of it being stolen is genuine.

    Asking for some proof of purchase is a good idea, though some sellers might be wary of handing over any extra data (serial no. etc.) not strictly necessary for the sale. Sellers can be scammed too.

    It's for reasons like this I avoid 2nd hand sales and always buy new. Apple hasn't scammed me yet! ;)
     
  7. sunsetblow thread starter macrumors regular

    sunsetblow

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for the replies! I've bought secondhand a dozen times now (never been screwed, phew) and I can imagine every single one would be hesitant to fill out such a contract. I'm not saying this to say it shouldn't be done or is somehow wrong... but I think putting all that personal information out there to a stranger would definitely make most feel a bit uneasy.

    I really wish there were an easier way!
     
  8. sunsetblow thread starter macrumors regular

    sunsetblow

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    #8
    For the record: just called Apple and the rep suggested the written contract to me as well, so thanks for that JackANSI. He was only speaking in the context of when a device is reported stolen to Apple. But he did say even a written proof of purchase would help establish your ownership to the Apple security team.

    He couldn't say any which way if carriers consider signing into Apple ID and iCloud on a device establishes your legal ownership over a device, so that makes me think that carriers really aren't concerned about closing this insurance fraud loophole. Pretty sickening.
     
  9. wakinghour macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    #9
    T-mobile is the worst. I can say with confidence based on my research that they don't respect receipts or ebay transactions as proof. The original buyer is the owner no matter what.
     

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