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August 3, 2021

What is a Blacklisted Phone?

Expert analysts are predicting that the market value for used phones will be $65 billion by 2024. As consumers, we’ve realized the value of saving money by buying a perfectly good used cell phone vs standing in line and paying top dollar for the newest model. One of the most important things you need to check for when buying a used or refurbished phone is that the phone is not blacklisted.

What is a blacklisted phone?

If a phone is blacklisted, it means that the device was reported lost or stolen. The blacklist is a database of all the IMEI or ESN numbers that have been reported. If you have a device with a blacklisted number, your carrier may block services. In the worst-case scenario, the local authorities could seize your phone.

To check to see if your phone is blacklisted, you’ll first need to locate your device’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number or ESN (Electronic Serial number). These numbers are like social security numbers for your phone, identifying the individual device.

How do I find these numbers? 

There are a few different ways to find your IMEI/ESN number depending on your phone’s manufacturer, but all of them are rather easy.

  1. Type #06# into the keypad of your phones and your IMEI or ESN may be displayed. 
  2. Check the back of your phone, on your battery, or even on the box itself. 
  3. Go to General Settings > About > IMEI/ESN (depending on which one you have), and it should be displayed there.

How do I check to see if my phone is blacklisted? 

Once you find the number, you check it by calling the carrier. If you’re short on time and prefer not to sit on hold with your carrier, you can use a mobile diagnostic like Phonecheck. It will also give you a certification with all the facts you need to know about the device.

If you discover that you have a device that is blacklisted, discuss how you can return the phone to the carrier or its original owner. Depending on the carrier, you may be entitled to a full refund. However, if you bought it from an individual seller, let them know that the IMEI or ESN has been blacklisted and hopefully they will give you your money back.

If you can’t return the blacklisted phone, you will most likely not be able to use cellular services. In other words, you will not be able to use your device as a phone. You will still have the ability to play music, movies, or games, but it’s not really why you buy a phone. Make sure to check it, and return it if possible in order to avoid future problems.

Discovering you have a blacklisted phone can be a hassle and a waste of money. You can avoid many issues and learn critical information about a used device you’re considering purchasing by obtaining a Phonecheck report. 

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