Know before you buy.
In the market for a used phone? Second-hand devices come with a lower cost, but might have a suspicious history.
Before purchasing a used smartphone, try make sure it's not actually registered as lost or stolen.
If you are wandering around with a stolen phone, the original owner might request it be blocked from carrier networks or locked entirely so you're unable to use it. There's now a quick way to check a device's status though.
CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, recently launched Stolenphonechecker.Org. The website uses multiple databases to help limit the resale of lost and stolen mobile devices in the U.S.
To find out the status of your second-hand device, simply type in the phone's unique serial number, the international mobile equipment identity number. Depending on the device, there are multiple ways of finding this number. You can either look in the device's settings menu or on a bar code on the phone's original packaging, if available, or dial *#06# to see the number.
And if you discover your device is lost or stolen, report it immediately to your wireless carrier to register it in the database.
To learn more, check out the video below from CNET:
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