The Scary Reason You Should Never Buy A Used iPhone

November 7, 2018 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Tech

Although sales of the new iPhone XR are reportedly weak, holiday is a big time for Apple gifts. Many of us will be giving or receiving a new iPhone next month (if we’re lucky!).

And deal seekers will be on the look-out for cheaper ways to obtain a new iPhone without spending almost $1,000.

And the obvious answer, of course, is to buy a user or “refurbished” phone. Especially if you’re giving the iPhone to a child or young adult, there is no need to get a brand new phone. They will be thrilled with the refurbished kind–and likely won’t even know the difference (if you get the right kind).

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But there is one caveat when shopping for a used iPhone. They might be stolen!

Yes, that's right, unfortunately the refurbished iPhone market is rife with stolen phones, and they can pop up on resale sites like eBay or Craig's List.

To avoid buying a stolen phone consider safer sites like Swappa that has a strict ban on stolen phones and uses a verification code to verify iPhone models. Or if you must use eBay be sure to read the reviews carefully and contact the seller if you have any doubts.

There's also an easy way to check if an iPhone is stolen. Go to Settings > General > About> IMEI. This is where you'll find 15 digit number. Enter the number at CTIA Stolen Phone Checker to find out if it's stolen. If you're working with a seller on eBay, ask them for this number.

You can also safely buy used iPhones at places like Apple's own refurbished site. Some tips for buying refurbished phones are to buy them right after Apple's annual event in September when they announced the new product lineup. Tech junkies will be rushing to get rid of their existing models at that time, and the refurbished market should be flooded with options.

Additionally, tech experts note that you should not skimp on things like storage when you're buying a used iPhone. Yes, price is a consideration, but so is being able to house all of your apps and data.

Lastly, you should check if the iPhone will work with your wireless carrier. That would be an expensive paper weight!



Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor.

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