“Cheaper phones come with a deeper price tag!”
A second-hand phone deal may sound too good to be true..
In the last few years, there has been a boom in the market of second hand phones. With the advent of websites like Quikr, Olx, eBay etc., buying and selling pre-owned phones has never been easier. Although the lure of buying a smartphone for a lesser price is too much to resist, it always entails a degree of danger. Many of the phones that are sold and bought via those website have not been procured through honest means. In fact, many of those phones were stolen from other people who have reported it to the police! The end result- the innocent buyer of these second hand phones can then be taken behind bars for the stolen phones!
..But all may just not be well!
Every phone has its own unique International Mobile Equipment Identification (IMEI) number which helps the police in tracking the device. Whenever a SIM card is inserted in a phone, it looks for a network and connects itself to the nearest tower. In this way a phone can be located easily. In case of a stolen phone, the thief sells it off as soon as possible without giving his details and then vanishes. The buyer is not even aware that the phone sold to him is a stolen one. When the original owner reports theft of his phone, then, more often than not, the new buyer gets charged with theft, instead of the seller – he has already disappeared by then.
What should I do to safeguard myself?
Here are a couple of tips that should be followed before buying a pre-owned phone:
- Make sure it’s unlocked. Most of the stolen smartphones which are sold remain locked, and cost a little less than expected.
- Check the price of the new phone of the same model. If the price is very low, most probably there is something wrong with the phone and the current owner wants to part with as quickly as possible.
- Make sure all the accessories are intact. If they aren’t, find out what happened to them. Look for a logical explanation behind the loss of the charger, headphones etc.
- If it is a stolen phone, then the IMEI number would probably be scratched off the battery sticker. You can still check the IMEI number by dialing *#06#. There are several online IMEI databases you can compare this against.
- Last but not the least, meet the seller, if possible. Retain his address and contact number, as it would come in handy in case of any discrepancy.
Have you ever heard of or been a victim of this scam? Comment below to let us know how you tackled it!
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