Reselling a stolen phone used to be very simple. Thieves could simply post an offer on an online resale platform and wait to be contacted.
However, a blacklist was created a few years ago, making it much more difficult to resell stolen phones.
So, what is a blacklisted phone? How can you make sure that a phone isn’t on the list before you buy it?
In this article, the Recycell team answers these questions and more.
What is the blacklist for cell phones?
The National Stolen Device Blacklist is a tool that was established in Canada in 2013. The list is used to identify cell phones that have been reported lost or stolen.
According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), the purpose of the list is to reduce theft and disincentivize the resale of lost and stolen devices.
When a phone is reported lost or stolen and blacklisted by a mobile service provider, it can no longer be activated on a Canadian, American or European network.
How the blacklist works
The device blacklist is a huge database that contains a list of all lost or stolen cell phones. The list includes IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) and ESN (Electronic Serial Number) numbers that serve as identifiers for specific devices.
With these identifiers recorded, anyone who tries to reactivate a phone that is on the blacklist will be unable to do so because service providers will refuse to sell them a plan. Furthermore, service providers who identify a blacklisted device are likely to report it to the authorities.
How to tell if a phone is blacklisted
The vast majority of cell phones have an IMEI number, an ESN or both. To check whether a device is blacklisted, you will need to find the IMEI number to access the database.
There are several simple ways to do this:
- Dial *#06# on your phone and the IMEI number will appear automatically on-screen.
- If you can, check under your phone’s battery. For iPhones, the number can be found on the little tray that holds the SIM card.
- If you still have your phone’s original packaging, you should be able to find the IMEI number on the label.
Once you have the IMEI number, go to Device Check Canada, a website created by the CWTA. Just enter your IMEI to access the Canadian national database of lost and stolen devices.
Device Check Canada is a really useful tool for anyone considering buying a used cell phone. By checking its status, you can make sure that you are buying a legitimate device and avoid losing money on an unusable one.
<H2> How to remove a cell phone from the blacklist
The only way to remove a cell phone from the blacklist is to contact the original carrier. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to do so without a very good reason. The only situation where a provider will remove a phone from the blacklist is if they are the ones who sold it to you. In that case, they are obliged to do everything in their power to remove the device from the list or reimburse you for it if they cannot.
You can also alert the police, but they don’t always open an investigation for this type of situation.
If you have gotten a used smartphone that turns out to be on the blacklist, even if you acquired it legally, you are likely to be left with an unusable phone.
What to do with a blacklisted phone
So, you’ve paid for a device that’s impossible to connect to mobile networks. What can you do with it?
Although basic functions like call and text won’t work on a blacklisted phone, its other functions can still be used.
You can still use the device to access WiFi and listen to music, watch videos, play games, etc.
However, most people don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a cell phone that can’t be used for calls or texts.
The best thing to do is check the status of a used phone before you buy it. This is especially important for less secure resale platforms like Kijiji. If the seller refuses to give you the IMEI, consider it a red flag.
It’s important to note that it can take a few days for phones to appear on the blacklist. A phone that was stolen the day before may not be listed when you check it. To make sure your purchase is legitimate, it may be a good idea to wait a few days before checking the status of the device.
Find great quality used cell phones at Recycell
A blacklisted phone is practically impossible to use for basic functions like calling and texting. If the device is on the list, it’s because it was reported lost or stolen and it will be basically impossible to reactivate it, even if you purchased it legally.
Want to buy a used cell phone from a reputable seller so you can be sure it won’t be on the blacklist?
Recycell buys used devices in large quantities from major companies and refurbishes them. When you buy a device from us, you can rest assured that it’s not on the national blacklist.
Visit our used phone store to find a used phone that works for you!