What precautions should I take when buying a used iPhone from craigslist?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by loft3, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. loft3 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    #1
    Hey all,

    I'm thinking of buying a used iPhone from craigslist to use as an extra while traveling and such. Besides checking out if the iPhone actually works, what other precautions should I take when buying a used iPhone from a person?

    Is there any way to look up if the phone has been reported stolen (for example, could I ask them to provide the serial number and somehow check that in a database somewhere)?

    I just don't want to buy a used iPhone only to find it's been remotely locked a day later because it's been stolen.
     
  2. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #2
    It is a crap shoot. It could be stolen and not reported yet or locked to a carrier who is no longer getting paid and the carrier blacklists it. There is and always will be some risk.
     
  3. CooKieMoNs7eR macrumors 68000

    CooKieMoNs7eR

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    #3
    Make sure there is no iCloud account attached to it...
     
  4. Beenblacklisted macrumors 6502

    Beenblacklisted

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Location:
    Miami,Fl
    #4
    why risk it , just buy from swappa or gazelle, remember if its to good to be true , then it probably is!
     
  5. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #5
    After reading a lot of threads regarding buying off craigslist, it seems most of had decent transactions. However, I would definitely make sure the iPhone is functional and if you can, get the individual's information who is selling the iPhone to you, it would help if there were any issues or problems. Any honest buyer would be willing to offer your information to you, name, phone number, any other contact information.

    Also, get a Bill of sale. At least you would have some sort of record of the iPhone being purchased if something were to go wrong.
     
  6. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    Location:
    DE
    #6
    I would also suggest meeting at a public place, particularly the wireless provider that you plan to use the phone on. That way while you're there, you can test the phone to ensure that it works on the network. That doesn't guarantee that they seller won't attempt to report the phone as lost after the transaction is complete though. So like others mentioned, there is always some sort of risk involved.

    I would also suggest a place like Swappa. Because even if you do get burned, you should still be covered paying via PayPal.
     
  7. HEK, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    HEK macrumors 68040

    HEK

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    #7
    Meet in public place. Police department lobby is good. If you have your CPL carry your weapon on you.

    Is anyone you know, friend,relative, co-worker selling their iPhone. If you know the person, that lowers risk of a shady deal by large margin.
     
  8. comptr macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Arizona
    #8
    Telll the seller you want to meet him at a Apple Store and have the phone fully tested by the Genius Bar and then go to the carrier store and have them check the esn and make sure that the phone is payed off.
     
  9. noobinator macrumors 603

    noobinator

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    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
  10. cableguy84 macrumors 6502a

    cableguy84

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Location:
    Essex
    #10
    The precautions you should take are as follows:

    1. Don't buy from craigslist
     
  11. itsray macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    #11
    thats not a 100% either. the imei could check out fine but you wont know till you've paid and got it if its still under at&t next to actually check out the imei number yourself. swappa allows the seller not to tell the buyer if the imei is still under a payment plan. all they check is if its not blacklisted at the moment.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 29, 2016 ---
    make sure they paid full price for it and have them bring the receipt so you can check out the imei with the one on the phone compared to the one on the receipt.
     
  12. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5

    Mlrollin91

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    Ventura County
    #12
    I've sold many iPhones on craigslist. I typically meet the buyer at an AT&T or Verizon store. They can check out the phone and then use one of the devices in the store to access the Activation Locked website to check the IMEI/Serial number.

    So meet at a public place, make sure you can access Apple's activation lock check website and also run the IMEI number on their warranty check website just to make sure its legit.
     
  13. urkel macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #13
    Kevlar

    Seriously though. Have tabs for all the necessary sites ready. Apple iCloud lock page. Ting's BYOD to check IMEI. Swappas checker. A pair of GSM SIM.
     
  14. HEK macrumors 68040

    HEK

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    Sep 24, 2013
  15. aKansasKid macrumors regular

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    Apr 27, 2015
    #15
    Hope it's not an iPhone 6. ;) You might read about Touch Disease first, if it is.
     
  16. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    Feb 17, 2016
  17. Relentless Power, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #17
    Although you make great points. This is a bit extreme that may scare the buyer off to be honest. More or less, it's a lot of work to drive to various retailers, meet with a stranger, all to prove the iPhone is valid, which in some cases, an Apple Store/Cellular carrier can be hours away for some. Most who purchase an iPhone will use their self intuition if the sale is legitimate and of course, ensure the iPhone is completely operable from all aspects.

    I would also suggest obtaining the seller's information and contact information, which should not be an issue of the seller has a comfort level and is Honest. Especially if the iPhone does have an issue, the buyer can reach out to the seller for any advice/questions.

    A bill of sale should be completed indicating the terms and conditions of the sale.
     
  18. Spink10 Suspended

    Spink10

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #18
    I sell all the time on CL and would never do this as a seller. I can find someone else that won't waste my time. Just sayin.

    Talk to the seller 5 mins on the phone. 90% of shady people can't carry a normal business conversation. Then do most of the things mentioned above.
     
  19. comptr macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Location:
    Arizona
    #19
    O ok, I also sell my old iPhones on CL all the time and I say in the ad I only meet at apple stores and if they buyer wants to meet a carrier store afterwords I am ok with it since the apple store and the carrier stores are just a mile apart.
     
  20. C DM macrumors Westmere

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #20
    That's one of the risks that's harder to account for as the phone could be reported stolen or perhaps as unpaid at some point later on even if it worked fine when it was sold and even afterward.
     
  21. DadBod630 Suspended

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2015
    #21
    I would bring my FN P90 for self defense in case he tries to rip you off
     
  22. laudern macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    #22
    I'm a fan (not a big fan, but a fan) of buying from your local Facebook buy swap and sell site. It makes it somewhat less risky as people don't want to be banned or "ruin" their reputation within their own community. It's all pretty risky though.
     
  23. DarkExistence Suspended

    DarkExistence

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2016
    #23
    Make sure that imessage has been disabled
     
  24. Spink10 Suspended

    Spink10

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #24
    Thats a lot of time! But greatly increased their trust in you. :)
     
  25. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #25
    Yeah same here. I'd pass on a potential buyer who wanted to do all those theatrics just to prove the iPhone is valid. I'd meet at a carrier store or Apple but certainly not both. There's really nothing either place can tell you about the phone that you can't look up yourself with the IMEI.

    There's risk in buying a used iPhone from anywhere these days. Just check for activation lock and check Swappa and/or checkesnfree to see if it's lost/stolen and of course make sure it actually works. Plus like you said, just talking on the phone to a potential seller can often let you know whether or not they're shady as most criminals tend to be pretty unintelligent.
     

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