How to buy a Used Phone safely and avoid getting scammed!

How to buy a Used Phone safely and avoid getting scammed!

Will the used phone work properly? Is the phone actually stolen? Is it worth the money or am I getting scammed?

These are some of the questions that go through out heads when we want to buy a used phone.

The price may be great, but so are the risks.

So here is a comprehensive “how to buy a used phone” guide, providing you with practical tips and tricks on how to buy a used phone safely so that you land up with a superb deal without the worry:

1. Verify the Phone’s Identity: IMEI Number

When buying a used phone, always ask for the IMEI number, a unique 15-digit code that identifies the phone. Dial *#06# to display the IMEI on the phone screen. Use reputable IMEI checking websites to confirm the phone’s status and model. This step ensures you’re dealing with a legitimate device and not a stolen or counterfeit phone.

2. Check Network Lock

Inquire if the phone is locked to a specific carrier. Contact your cellular provider with the IMEI number to confirm if the phone can be used with your network. Unlocked phones offer the flexibility to switch carriers or use local SIM cards while traveling abroad, enhancing your options and saving you money.

3. Meet in a Safe Location

Prioritize your safety during the transaction by arranging to meet the seller in a public, well-lit location with surveillance cameras, such as a coffee shop or police station. Avoid secluded areas to minimize the risk of potential harm.

4. Inspect for Physical Damage

Examine the phone thoroughly for any physical damage not visible in online photos. Scratches on the screen, dents on the body, or signs of repair or tampering should raise red flags. Check the charging port for debris or damage, ensuring it charges properly when connected to a power source.

5. Evaluate Battery Health

Verify the battery health percentage through settings or diagnostic apps. A battery health above 80% indicates the battery is in good condition. Lower percentages suggest the battery’s capacity has degraded, and you might need a replacement soon, potentially saving you from unexpected expenses.

6. Run Hardware and Software Tests

Install reputable diagnostic apps from official app stores to assess hardware components. Test the touch screen for responsiveness, multi-touch functionality, and screen sensitivity. Check Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, ensuring they connect to devices and networks without issues. Testing features like speakers, flashlight, proximity sensor, and more confirms the phone’s overall functionality, giving you peace of mind.

7. Test Communication Features

Ensure the phone’s basic communication features work seamlessly. Send test text messages to confirm prompt delivery. Make phone calls to verify the clarity of the microphone and speaker. Play a YouTube video in speaker mode to assess audio quality. These tests guarantee the phone meets your communication needs without any glitches.

8. Check Camera and Connectivity

Evaluate the phone’s camera quality by taking photos and videos using both front and rear cameras. Inspect image quality, color accuracy, and focus. Connect to available Wi-Fi hotspots to test the internal Wi-Fi chip, ensuring secure connections and stable internet access for your online activities.

9. Guard Against Phone Swap Scam

Stay vigilant during the entire transaction process. After testing the phone, do not return it to the seller. To prevent a swap, place a unique sticker or mark on the phone’s screen. Remain focused, especially during money exchanges. If you feel uneasy or suspect any suspicious behavior, trust your instincts and walk away from the deal.

So in Summary:

By following these guidelines, you can make an informed decision when purchasing a used phone, minimizing the risk of scams and ensuring you get a reliable device. Stay cautious, thorough, and aware throughout the buying process to safeguard your investment and peace of mind. Happy and safe phone shopping!


Check out How to get Unlimited Data when traveling!

What should I consider before buying a used phone?

Before purchasing a used phone, consider factors such as the phone's condition, whether it's unlocked, its compatibility with your network, and the reputation of the seller. Additionally, ensure you check the phone's IMEI number to verify its authenticity and whether it has been reported as stolen.

How do I check if a used phone is stolen or blacklisted?

To check if a used phone is stolen or blacklisted, ask the seller for the IMEI number, a unique 15-digit code specific to the phone. You can then use reputable IMEI checking websites to confirm the phone's status. If the phone is blacklisted, it may have been reported lost or stolen, and it's advisable to avoid purchasing it.

What tests should I run to ensure the used phone's functionality?

When testing a used phone, assess its hardware components and communication features. Test the touch screen, buttons, camera, speakers, microphone, and connectivity features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Make test calls, send text messages, and verify the phone's overall performance with different apps. These tests help ensure the phone functions as expected.

Can I switch the phone to my carrier if it's locked to another network?

f a used phone is locked to a specific carrier, you can still use it with your preferred carrier by unlocking it. Contact the original carrier or a third-party unlocking service to unlock the phone. Once unlocked, you can insert your SIM card and use the phone with your desired network provider.


Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter