When you buy a used phone, do not fall for these cons! Be careful. Learn about the following phone scams so you won’t be the next person to fall for them.
1. Lost or Stolen Phone Report after the Sale
It works like this: a con artist sells you an insured phone. Later, they tell the insurance company that it was lost or stolen and file a claim. The insurance company gives them a new phone. Moreover, they blacklist the one you bought from the scammer.
2. Stolen and Blacklisted Phones
Swindlers steal phones and sell them before the owner can report them stolen. It is one of the oldest tricks. Even though phone theft is less because of software like Find My iPhone and iCloud Activation Lock, thieves can still make a quick buck if they sell stolen phones quickly.
3. Activation-Locked Phones
Thieves sell stolen iPhones with iCloud Activation Lock turned on. Sometimes, honest sellers can do this by accident. If you buy an iPhone that needs to be activated, you won’t be able to use it.
You can restore iPhones to factory settings, but the iCloud Activation Lock is still on. So, it looks like a new phone but is still locked.
4. Broken Phones
Dishonest sellers sell phones with water damage, bad batteries, cracked covers, and other problems. They may use protective cases to try to hide the damage.
Even though phones usually have a strip that turns on when water gets on them, you probably won’t be able to use it if you buy a newer model. But other signs could point to water damage.
5. Fake Phones
Scammers who are better at what they do will sell fake phones that look like popular flagships but have cheap parts and software.
It happens more often than you may think, though. Many YouTube videos can help you figure out if a phone is fake. Taking a picture is one of the best ways to find out. If the camera is no good and it’s an iPhone XS Max, it’s probably a fake.
6. No Delivery
Even on local classified sites, there are a lot of scammers who won’t meet in person and will only ship and never deliver. Some apps help people sell expensive phones for too low prices. Most of the time, they are in a different state and say they will send you the phone if you send them money first, sometimes half of it or all of it. They would not deliver the phone.
You need to ask the seller to meet you in-person so that you can possibly avoid scam. If they say no, don’t do business with them.
Phone Scam Warning Signs
When you buy a used phone, look for the following warning signs. Keep in mind that they are not always signs of a scam. But if more than one thing is wrong with
1. The Price is Too Low
Scams work because people are greedy and want something for less money. Don’t be fooled by a price that seems too good to be true. Not everything that shines is gold.
2. Fast Sales
There are good reasons why a trustworthy seller might want to sell their phone as soon as possible. However, if they force you to buy as soon as possible, it can be a warning sign, especially if the sale is for one day only and the price is too low.
3. No Pictures or Stock Pictures
Listings that don’t have photos or only have stock photos could be warning signs because the seller might not have the phone they say they are selling. Scammers who are better at what they do will steal photos from another listing. use Google’s reverse image search that will show you stolen photos from anywhere else on the internet.
4. Cleverly Written Explanations
If you are meeting the seller in person, you can avoid it. However, con artists who ship will use misleading descriptions to get your money. It is more common on eBay, where scammers sell “an opportunity to buy an iPhone XS Max 64GB box and instructions. It means that you are only getting the phone’s box and instructions.
Find out Who the Seller is and Get a Bill of Sale
You can buy a used phone from a dealer if you don’t want to buy from a private seller. Buy a certified pre-owned phone from a reputable store to ensure you are getting a device you can trust.
Avoid the Scams
Even though selling a phone for more than it is worth is not a scam, you should always ensure you get a fair deal when you buy a used phone. You can look up your phone online to see its private market value, buyback value, and price history. It will help you decide if the price is fair.