[Guia BDI] Learn how to minimize the chances of buying a stolen iPhone

Activation Lock

Since iOS 7 and the invention of Activation Lock, appear daily in the comments of the Blog, in our Forum, on Twitter and Facebook cases of readers who bought a locked iPhone and do not know what to do. The story is always something like “I bought an iPhone over the internet, and now that I went to update it asks for the iCloud password of the old owner, but the person who sold me doesn’t answer!“. Some variations include “I found a good offer on MercadoLivre, I bought the iPhone, but it is blocked!” and “The old owner said he doesn’t know the iCloud password to unlock my device!“.

Unfortunately, buying a used iPhone over the internet is becoming a very difficult task. Especially on sites such as MercadoLivre, Bom Negócios and OLX, where there are more pillows per square meter than in the corridors of some government buildings. However, there are some ways to guard against headaches. They take some work, but it will certainly be an effort (and stress) much less than having to go through the terrible experience of buying a stolen iPhone. In addition, of course, this is a crime. Check out some tips that can be very useful when buying a used iPhone:

1 – Be wary of very low prices or very crazy stories

It’s not that uncommon to find amazing deals on product sites used like an iPhone 5 for R $ 700 or R $ 800. Despite being virtually impossible the interested person doesn’t even consider that the price so below reality is an indication that there is something wrong, many people still fall for this scam in the hope of having been lucky enough to find one great deal.

However, even when the price of a stolen device is similar to the rest of the used market, stolen iPhones always come with a strange story. Things like “My cousin bought it and didn’t like it, so I’m selling it to him“,“My aunt is in urgent need of money, so she is selling the iPhone“,“I’m only with the device, because I’ve already sold the box and cables“Or”My parrot did not adapt with Siri’s new voice“. Family and friends are the preferred excuse of stolen iPhone sellers. If the salesman’s chat is too tight, skip out, even though the offer is very tempting.

2 – Prioritize doing business where you can personally remove the iPhone

This will allow you to manipulate the device before to buy it. Often just turn on the iPhone to see the message that the device is stolen, sometimes already showing the contact number of the former owner. Be sure to require the device to be with battery when you meet the seller. Anyone who wants to sell their own device is not opposed to this type of order because they have nothing to lose (or to fear) with this situation.

3 – Choose a location where you can restore the system

It is a very common practice among buyers and sellers to arrange the meeting at a public place as a shopping center or a bus, train, subway station, etc. Although it is a safe decision, as doing business in a busy place avoids problems with robberies and thefts, this prevents further examination of the device, such as the restoration and deactivation Activation Lock. Anyone who wants to sell their own iPhone will not object to logging into iCloud on the device so that you can enable the phone after formatting and restoring, since you will not have access to that password, and will no longer need it after that.

4 – Try to buy devices from people you know

Not everyone who sells devices over the internet is a scammer, but this is yet another situation in which honest people suffer because of the dishonest. Buying a used iPhone from a friend, family member or colleague from school and work are good options, as living together will allow you to contact the seller easily if you need any information to be able to use your iPhone fully.

Apple has been giving a lot of attention to try to solve problems of this type. A few weeks ago the company, along with other big players in the market such as Google and Microsoft, signed an agreement that provides for practical measures to be in place in June 2015 to make smartphone theft a much rarer event.

However, this is a problem that we can all help to solve, information and helping to eliminate demand for stolen devices. The first step is to make sure your iPhone has the Search My iPhone activated and updated, as this will help increase the chances of recovering your device if it is stolen. Then, always try to pass the recommendations above to anyone who is considering buying a used iPhone. Information is one of the biggest weapons against panic and is sometimes the only thing that separates a happy purchase from a headache.