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September 9, 2016

What Is An IMEI Blacklist Check?

When you consider that the average price of a spanking new smartphone in the United States is projected to be more than $700 by 2027, you can see why buying used might appeal to some people. In fact, one article notes that buying a used phone will soon be just as commonplace as buying a used car -- meaning that many people will view purchasing used as the only sensible option. But just like you need to be careful when you hit the dealership lot in search of a used car, so too should you be vigilant when you search online or offline for used or refurbished phones.

Even though there are indeed good deals to be had, you must consider certain things beforehand -- such as whether or not it’s a lost or stolen product -- in order to avoid getting burned. The way you can determine this is by doing an IMEI blacklist check. An IMEI number, which is assigned to every smartphone, allows the buyer of a second-hand phone to verify if it’s been reported lost or stolen. Read on to learn more about how a blacklist check can help.

What is an IMEI blacklist?

An IMEI blacklist is basically a database listing the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of mobile devices that have been reported lost or stolen. You can access these online databases, therefore, to check before you hand over any cash to buy a smartphone.

Why is this information important?

If you fail to check the IMEI against an IMEI blacklist, you can end up with a smartphone that has already been reported to the relevant authorities as lost or stolen. If this happens, the police could seize your phone, and your mobile services provider could block your phone from its network.

How can users check the IMEI?

There are numerous ways that you can conduct an IMEI blacklist check. In addition to calling your carrier with the relevant information, you can check online to find manufacturer-specific information on how to retrieve this vital data. As well, you can also check the various IMEI blacklist databases available online. But what if you are a company buying mass amounts of used mobile devices and need to check the IMEI for each one? It can be time consuming to handle each phone manually. PhoneCheck is the perfect solution to quickly and easily discovering if the phones your business has recently purchased are reported lost or stolen.

What should users do in case their phone is reported lost or stolen?

If you bought a smartphone reported lost or stolen from a friend or a seller on a classifieds site, you should reach out to your carrier to figure out the best way to return the phone to the rightful owner. If you acquired it from one of the more reputable online marketplaces, you could also seek to return it for a full refund. You should let the seller, who may or may not have known about the issue, know that the phone is registered on an IMEI blacklist. A reputable seller won’t hesitate to give you your money back and to see that the phone gets back to whomever it belongs to. So, as you can see, an IMEI check is a must if you plan to buy a used smartphone. There are certainly hot deals to be had if you buy a used phone, but you can get burned if you don’t do your homework first. Be sure to subject any smartphone on your shortlist to an IMEI blacklist, and you’ll lessen the odds of ending up with buyer’s remorse after closing a deal.

What is an IMEI Blacklist Check

Avoid the Stress of Blacklist Check IMEI By Following These Tips

Buying a used smartphone should be a money saving move, not a headache. No buyer wants to find out that their hot new phone is literally ‘hot.’ Not every seller on third-party selling sites is what they seem, and buying a used phone could lead to purchasing one that is on the blacklist.

The best advice when shopping for a used or pre-owned phone is to purchase from a reputable seller. Here are tips for buying a used phone without stressing over the IMEI blacklist.

No Need to Check IMEI Blacklist When Shopping Via Apple Refurbished Phones

Apple refurbishes older or pre-owned iPhones and sells them as Certified Refurbished iPhones. When Apple refurbishes an iPhone, they devote time and care to restoring it. The shell and the battery are replaced, and Apple makes any necessary repairs; the phone also is programmed with the original iOS or newer version (if applicable). Each Certified Refurbished phone also includes a one-year warranty.

Apple will never sell an iPhone that has been stolen or reported missing. Buyers won’t find IMEI blacklist phones via Apple’s refurbished inventory.

Buyers will also get a great deal when buying a refurbished phone from either a standalone Apple Store or online (via Apple). While inventory of refurbished models could vary, even newer models are available as refurbished lower-priced options. Currently, Apple offers an iPhone 13 in refurbished options.

Prices for refurbished Apple iPhones will vary, but, again, buyers can enjoy savings compared to buying the same phone new.

Don’t Deal With an IMEI Blacklist Check and Buy a Certified Pre-Owned Phone

Apple offers Certified Refurbished iPhones, but other manufacturers or companies could offer ‘certified pre-owned’ phones. These phones might go through a rigorous restoration process to get them running like new again. In addition, a warranty might be issued for a specific duration of time.

However, buyers might need to do a little research to ensure that the seller is still reputable. If a random individual is proclaiming that they are selling a ‘certified pre-owned’ phone, buyers might want to dig a little deeper. However, purchasing from major stores and websites could ensure fewer worries and help the buyer avoid looking up the phone on the blacklist.

IMEI Check Blacklist Isn’t a Concern with Best Buy Pre-Owned or Refurbished Products

Best Buy offers many pre-owned and/or refurbished products. The company stands behind its products, too. Since Best Buy carries so many major tech brands, buyers also could find an assortment of pre-owned or refurbished phones.

Some of these phones might be referred to as Geek Squad Certified Refurbished. This is Best Buy’s own certified refurbishment. Best Buy’s site explains that their refurbished items are restored to like new condition. Warranties could vary per product, though. In addition, refurbished items also could be returned.

Best Buy also sells pre-owned tech. However, devices aren’t repaired to like-new condition, although Best Buy restores the item and tests to ensure that all pre-owned devices work.

Buying a refurbished or even a pre-owned phone from Best Buy is another way to ensure that it’s a quality product and isn’t on the blacklist.

Amazon Is a Great Option for Avoiding Phones that Require a Blacklist IMEI Check

Amazon includes independent sellers. When purchasing a pre-owned or refurbished phone from Amazon, stick with the Amazon Renewed Store. This is Amazon’s site for all refurbished or restored products.

All products in the Amazon Renewed Store include a 90-day guarantee; each device/item also has been thoroughly tested and inspected. These devices also come with Amazon’s 24/7 support.

Again, buying from Amazon’s own reputable store ensures that the consumer knows what they are purchasing. They also can take comfort in the fact that they won’t be stuck with a phone on the blacklist.

Cell Phone Carriers Offer Phones that Don’t Warrant an IMEI Check

Carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and others offer phones in their store, and they also could have an inventory of refurbished or used phones, too. Carriers know about the IMEI Blacklist and will not sell a phone that’s on this list.

These companies will check the IMEI number to ensure that they are not buying back a stolen phone or one that has been reported missing. Shopping used or new inventory via the carriers also ensures that buyers don’t need to worry about investing in a phone that has been blacklisted.

Walmart Also Sells Pre-Owned Phones That Won’t Lead Buyers to Check Blacklist IMEI

Walmart is known for its low prices. The retail giant also carries many different brands of smartphones. When shopping online, refurbished or pre-owned phones also might be available. Stores might offer pre-owned or refurbished phones, too.

Like other stores, Walmart doesn’t want to sell ‘hot’ phones on the blacklist. When refurbishing phones for resale, they’re going to check the number.

IMEI Check: Should Buyers Avoid Resellers?

While stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Apple and Amazon offer refurbished or pre-owned phones without the stress of an IMEI number on the blacklist, there are many reputable resellers on sites that specialize in selling used/pre-owned phones. When purchasing from resellers, buyers can research their reviews and ratings. In addition, sites that specialize in phone resale (Like Swappa) might have other criteria for sellers on their platform.

What is an IMEI Blacklist Check

IMEI Blacklist Database: Keep Your IMEI Number Safe

While there are numerous places to buy a reputable refurbished or pre-owned phone, it’s also important for consumers to remember that they need to keep whatever phone they purchase safe. Consumers might worry about purchasing a phone on the blacklist, but they also should take measures to keep their phone off the blacklist.

Phones can be easily swiped when an individual least expects it. Accidents happen, and sometimes a phone is left behind, forgotten and never seen again. Our phones typically hold personal data, including credit card information, banking information and more.

Adopt these habits everyday to help keep your phone safe and deter thieves, too:

1.     Use facial recognition or fingerprint ID

2.    Get in the habit of always storing the phone in the same place (on the go)

3.    Keep the phone on you always

4.    Don’t store debit cards on smartphones

5.    Report a lost or stolen phone immediately, and wipe the data

The Benefit of Facial Recognition or Fingerprint ID Access

A thief that wants to break into a stolen phone might find a way to access the device, but some protective methods make that break-in more difficult. Facial recognition access options only let the phone open when the device detects the owner’s face. This protective access can make it harder for anyone else to open the phone and steal info.

In addition, the fingerprint ID access detects an individual’s unique fingerprint. The phone will only open when this print is detected. While, again, thieves might find a way to bypass this access, using facial recognition or fingerprint ID can complicate the quest.

Store the Phone in the Same Place

When running errands or on-the-go, keep the phone in the same safe place. This could be a side pocket or a certain compartment of a handbag. This tip doesn’t ensure that the phone will never get stolen, but it will encourage the developing a habit to always put the phone away and avoid leaving it behind.

Another good habit is to just always put the phone in this safe spot after using it. It’s easy to get into a bad habit of setting the phone down, but it is also incredibly easy to forget the phone.

Keep the Phone on You

When using the phone, keep it on you. Make sure the hand is always in contact with the phone, or set the phone on your lap. Developing this habit makes it harder to set it down beside you.

Don’t Store Debit Cards on a Smartphone

With mobile wallets, storing credit cards and other information is simple. Credit cards typically offer more protection against theft than a debit card. For this reason, consumers might want to avoid storing a debit card in their mobile wallet.

Report a Lost or Stolen Phone Immediately

Losing a phone or realizing it’s been stolen is a terrible feeling. There is now so much data stored on phones that thieves can gain access to financial information, personal data, photos and so much more.

In some cases, a stolen phone could be located via apps like Find My (for Apple). However, if the phone is turned off or disconnected, it might be impossible to locate it.

If a phone is lost or stolen, contact the service provider. They may be able to erase the data from the phone on their end. Apple offers a data erase option for devices that are connected to Find My. This is an easy way to wipe the phone and ensure no data is stolen.

A police report also can be filed for a missing phone. Contact local law enforcement to file a report. If the phone can be tracked and the owner can view it on a map, they can alert authorities, track it down, and, hopefully, keep the phone from becoming part of the IMEI blacklist.

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