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How to make sure that used phone wasn't lost or stolen

Used phone tips
How to check if that used phone was lost or stolen 01:00

If you're thinking of buying a second-hand cellphone, first you should check that it hasn't been registered as lost or stolen.

If it was stolen, the owner could request that the phone be blocked from carrier networks. Or they could remotely lock the phone so you can't use it.

CNET's Lexy Savvides explains a few simple steps you can take to make sure:

Go to

The CTIA — Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association — has an online Stolen Phone Checker tool to help you find out about red flags in a phone's history. The web page is

The CTIA's web page. CNET

Check the phone's unique serial number

You'll need to enter the phone's unique serial number, such as the international mobile equipment identity number, or IMEI. It might also be called an MEID or ESN. 

There are a few different ways to find the number: 

  • Dial *#06# on the phone
  • Look it up in the device's Settings menu
  • Check the code on the back of the phone 
  • Check the barcode on the original packaging
Check the back of the phone, or dial *#060# to get the phone's serial number, which may be called the IMEI, MEID or ESN number. It can also be found in Settings. CNET/ CBS News

If your phone is lost or stolen 

If you need to register a phone as lost or stolen, contact your wireless provider.

More smart tips for smartphones

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