Nobody wants to risk buying a stolen item. Even if you leave aside the morality issue, buying stolen devices creates a market for further thefts. And with smartphones, a stolen device can be be rendered useless by a combination of remote locking and blocks by carriers.
Wireless trade body CTIA has now created a free online tool to allow anyone to instantly check whether a phone is registered as lost or stolen …
All you need to perform the check is the IMEI/MEID/ESN number, which can be found in one of four ways:
- Dial *#06# on the phone
- Check Settings > About
- Look for a barcode label on the back of the device or behind the battery
- Check the barcode label on the packaging (if available)
The CTIA says that the service is intended as the ‘definitive’ source of the status of a device.
The service provides the wireless industry with the definitive, single source of real-time lost or stolen mobile device data. Using multiple source databases, the Stolen Phone Checker helps consumers, commercial organizations and law enforcement agencies in the US to know if a mobile device has been reported lost or stolen. This information is useful to anyone thinking of buying a used mobile device; simply check before you buy at www.stolenphonechecker.org.
Consumers can check up to five phones per day, while law enforcement agencies get unlimited access.