If you’re thinking of buying a second-hand, first you should check that it hasn’t been registered as lost or stolen.
If it was stolen, the owner could request that the phone be blocked from carrier networks. Or they could remotely lock the phone so you can’t use it.
CNET’s Lexy Savvides explains a few simple steps you can take to make sure:
Go to stolenphonechecker.com
The CTIA — Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association — has an online Stolen Phone Checker tool to help you find out about red flags in a phone’s history. The web page is stolenphonechecker.com.
Check the phone’s unique serial number
You’ll need to enter the phone’s unique serial number, such as the international mobile equipment identity number, or IMEI. It might also be called an MEID or ESN.
There are a few different ways to find the number:
- Dial *#06# on the phone
- Look it up in the device’s Settings menu
- Check the code on the back of the phone
- Check the barcode on the original packaging
If your phone is lost or stolen
If you need to register a phone as lost or stolen, contact your wireless provider.
More smart tips for smartphones
© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.