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August 17, 2023

Did I Purchase a Blacklisted Phone?

Opening your new, or new-to-you, mobile phone likely brings you back to those much anticipated birthdays of your youth when all you wanted to do was play with your recently acquired toys. Just as you spent the day mastering that new video game or dressing Barbie in the latest styles when you get your novel mobile phone, you’re likely to while away the hours toying with your device. Much like a broken toy on your birthday, your new-toy-high can be quashed if your new-to-you phone ends up being blacklisted. Below we’ll explore what a blacklisted phone is, steps you can take if you’re in this unfortunate situation, and how you can avoid it when making future used mobile phone purchases.

What is a Blacklisted Phone?

A blacklisted phone is a device that is essentially on the naughty list as far as carriers are concerned. This can happen if the phone is reported lost or stolen, or if the account owner stopped paying on the device. It can happen regardless of your phone model. 

When a phone is blacklisted, its unique identifier, the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number is added to a shared database. This database contains records of devices that have been reported as lost, stolen, or involved in fraudulent activities. Once a phone is blacklisted, major carriers are alerted, and they can restrict certain services on the device.

If you were unfortunate enough to purchase a blacklisted phone, you may not notice anything odd right away. But as time goes on, you can start to notice issues with your cellular services. Calls drop unexpectedly, text messages go undelivered, and your data connection seems sluggish at best. If you're facing these problems, there's a possibility that you've inadvertently bought a blacklisted phone.

How Can You Tell if You Have a Blacklisted Phone?

If you suspect that you might have purchased a blacklisted phone, there are steps you can take to confirm your suspicions. Start by locating your device's IMEI number.  You can do this by dialing *#06# on your keypad, Or, you can go to the settings menu and tap About Phone to find the number.

Once you have the IMEI number, you can contact your carrier. Carriers are the companies that provide cellular connectivity services to their subscribers. The three major carriers in the US are Sprint/T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T Mobility. They can run the number to check if it’s on the blacklist. However, this can be time-consuming and may involve waiting on hold for extended periods. If you want a quicker solution, consider using mobile diagnostic tools like Phonecheck. These tools not only help you determine if your phone is blacklisted, but they also provide a certification that can aid you in understanding the device's status.

Are There Consequences of Owning a Blacklisted Phone?

Owning these undesirable phones can lead to a range of inconveniences. If your device is on the blacklist, your carrier may restrict your access to cellular services. This means you might be unable to make calls, send texts, or access mobile data. Essentially, your phone loses its primary functionality – being a communication tool. However, it's worth noting that you can still use your device for activities like playing music, watching movies, or playing games, as these functions do not rely on cellular connectivity.

What Can I Do if I Have a Blacklisted Phone?

Discovering that you own a blacklisted phone doesn't have to be a nightmare. There are steps you can take to rectify the situation:

How Can I Avoid Purchasing One?

Before purchasing a used phone, you can follow these steps to minimize the risk of getting a blacklisted device:

Ending up with a blacklisted phone can be a frustrating experience. By taking proactive measures, such as verifying a phone's status before purchase and buying from a reputable source, you can reduce the risk of running into this issue. Stay informed and be vigilant to help you navigate the complex landscape of used phone purchases.

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