Stuck with a stolen iPhone. Should I contact the original owner?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by maccon, Sep 4, 2011.

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  1. maccon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #1
    Long story short. Bought an iPhone off craigslist. Came home, put my SIM in and everything worked. Kinda surprised when I saw the phone contact list was not erased before it was sold to me. It had tons of contacts. Found out music, photo, video - none of them were erased. The phone was not reset to factory settings. Felt the phone could be a stolen one. It has warranty for 5 more months. Apple store ID in the phone had a valid email address. Did little sleuthing.

    Searched Facebook for the email linked to the Apple store ID. Found the FB account linked to that email. The person's profile/wall/friends everything was open. Browsed through his posts. There it was. In June, the person complained about someone stealing his iphone and asking them to return the phone. He said he had all his contacts in his phone and he didn't have a backup. He talked about it for 2 more weeks and said he bought another phone but lost all his contacts.

    I am trying to call the person who sold the phone to me but unable to reach his cell. Now I am torn whether I should contact the original owner who lives 60 miles away and let him know I bought his phone from a stranger or just keep quiet. I know I cannot keep quiet, so I will contact the owner for sure and do what? He is going to get his contacts back and get his phone back too, which means I lost my money? Will he agree to split the cost? He is a student, can't expect him to share the cost. I cannot use a stolen phone. Donate it to a charity? I am using my old phone (not an iphone) now.
     
  2. kiantech macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2007
    #2
    Contact the person on facebook, and contact the police and give them the craigslist person's number.

    Or be creepy and make a fake facebook account and send them a link to a megaupload file where you upload all their pictures and contact info.

    Do the first one :)
     
  3. murdercitydevil macrumors 68000

    murdercitydevil

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    california
    #3
    Contact the police and the owner. Explain the situation. Have them find the seller (I assume you have their contact information, still?) and get your money back, then return the phone to it's owner. There's more than enough evidence to explain what happened, and I'm sure the CL seller would much rather give your money back than be chased down by the cops.
     
  4. bandofbrothers macrumors 601

    bandofbrothers

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Uk
    #4
    You already know the answer.

    Do the right thing !
     
  5. Harvey Specter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #5
    The sociopath in me says keep it and not give a crap, but you should probably return it and notify the police for good karma
     
  6. quizzi macrumors regular

    quizzi

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Online
    #6
    If you keep it there is a possibility that the IMEI number would be blocked by the owner, rendering the iPhone as a fancy iPod Touch.

    I would highly suggest you notify the original owner and the police to avoid further dilemmas.
     
  7. Agent-P macrumors 68030

    Agent-P

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Location:
    The Tri-State Area
    #7
    Haha, I love your second suggestion. To be quite honest, if I was the person that lost the iPhone and this happened to me I would be weirded out at first, but ultimately so thankful to the stranger that sent me my stuff back. An action like that (and like the OP) restore my faith that people can still be good in the world and we aren't all completely f'd up yet.
     
  8. Bigted macrumors newbie

    Bigted

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #8
    I would contact Seller, I'm surprised the imei has not been blocked already, is there buyer protection like eBay?
     
  9. Agent-P macrumors 68030

    Agent-P

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Location:
    The Tri-State Area
    #9
    No buyer protection on Craigslist. Think of it more like the classifieds you find in a newspaper, just in digital form (rather than a site like eBay).
     
  10. Bigted macrumors newbie

    Bigted

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    #10
    Oh I would rather pay he eBay fees for protection!
     
  11. Rajani Isa macrumors 65816

    Rajani Isa

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    #11
    In the US, at least, AT&T doesn't do IMEI blocking. Not sure about T-Mobile.

    Of course, subject to change since I last checked, but I doubt it.
     
  12. Liquinn Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    #12
    Not sure what to suggest.

    Technically you have an iPhone though.
     
  13. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #13
    Contact the person it belongs too and file a police report, you might even get a small reward and have a clean conscience (if you want one)
     
  14. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #14
    Technically he has a stolen iPhone and knows it, so keeping it would be handling stolen goods. A minor crime, but still a crime which I assume the original poster doesn't want to commit, and one that could be career destroying if found out, depending on what your career is.
     
  15. Mochi Hana macrumors 6502a

    Mochi Hana

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #15
    Send him a Facebook message and offer to return it. If he says he doesn't need it, at least you can use it with a clean conscience.
     
  16. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #16
    @OP: The phone isn't yours. As painful as it might be, you'll feel much better if you return the phone. Besides, I doubt very seriously it would be to your legal advantage to be the willing recipient for stolen property. In this regard, you are a 'willing' recipient because you now know the phone is stolen and you have the choice to return it to the owner or contact the police.
     
  17. JerZyT28 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #17
    well you already posted it on the internet, might as well contact the guy and let him know
     
  18. cookiesnfooty macrumors 6502

    cookiesnfooty

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    Location:
    Harrogate
    #18
    Why don't you backup his contacts to a fake google account and then send him the credentials from the fake account lol.
     
  19. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #19
    Just wondering who that troll or ass**** was who minused all of the posts refering to giving it back to the guy
     
  20. tomtom101 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #20
    How much did you pay for the stolen iPhone if you dont mind me askin??
     
  21. Sedrick, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

    Sedrick macrumors 68030

    Sedrick

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #21
    I found a laptop once and struggled with the same question. I searched through it until I found some document that showed who owned it and where they worked. Boy was he surprised when he got my phone call.

    Give it back, it's karma. You may even get a bit of a reward to help offset your loss.

    Next time when you buy something from a guy, turn it on there and search through it before you buy it.

    Perhaps that wasn't the answer the OP was hoping to get here?

    I'm starting to see mass down voting in other threads too. Seems to be a game for the kids to play.
     
  22. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #22
    I have to agree with people who said contact the original owner. Just send him a message on fb saying you bought a phone off craigslist and when you turned it on you had the feeling it was stolen. Tell him upon further investigation you noticed posts about a stolen phone on facebook. I would upload his contacts/data and send it to him (link in for a megaupload?) in the fb msg. I'm sure he will really appreciate it.

    Then ask the seller what he thinks the two of you should do handle the situation. Express your concern about not wanting to lose the money you spent on it, and offer to give the contact info of the craigslist seller.

    Either way, I wouldn't personally fill out a police report. Let the original owner do it if he wants.
     
  23. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Location:
    Washington State
    #23
    Heh, on the off topic part of the person minusing stuff, why don't you guys plus it if you like the suggestion to give it back. Then the minus goes away and since it seems more people seem to want him to give it back, those posts will get a positive and the minus won't mean much ;) (Hint, I already plussed the posts I agreed with which got rid of most of the minus's).

    And yeah, I vote for tell the truth and have a good conscience. And report the number to the police of the craigslist guy. Maybe at least he'll get caught (That would be nice).
     
  24. sam2428 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #24
    Also, there is nothing wrong with creating a fake fb account if you don't feel comfortable with your info being available to the stranger. I would notify him though in the message you send (assuming thats the route you take) that you created a fake account for that reason.


    Personally, I don't think this random guy will do anything with your contact info and I would be fine with sending him a message. Maybe put the guy on limited profile before sending the message? But creating a new account seems like too much work to me.
     
  25. Givmeabrek macrumors 68030

    Givmeabrek

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    #25
    Good grief, contact the owner and then the police with all of the details. Let the police handle the crook, not you. Keep out of the Craigslist business. You're not good at it.

    Use eBay for protection or buy from a store!


    :cool:
     
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