A few days ago, I was walking down a marketplace in a small Mexican village. The place was quite lively with a large variety of goods available from fruits and vegetables to livestock. Towards the end of my visit I came across a stand selling used phones, they had many top phones including an iPhone 7 Plus for only $150 dollars. At that price it’s a steal, and unfortunately in this case I am talking quite literally. As tempting as it was to buy a phone 3 models newer than mine at that price I walked away, and sure ethics played a role but there were many factors at play.
The reality is that even if I pushed my moral compass aside, purchasing a stolen phone is a bad idea. Manufacturers are finding more creative ways to allow the victim to turn their phone into a useless brick. Severely reducing its value on the black market and making it a less attractive target for thieves.
Apple has been given a lot of credit for doing its part, making it difficult to wipe the phone and turn off the location settings. Samsung has similar features that can make a stolen phone useless without the Google ID. Lastly, a user that has had their phone stolen can report the theft to their provider, so the phone can be added to a black list which bans the phone from many major carriers.
As much as these anti theft tactics need to be applauded they should also serve as a warning to any person considering buying a phone second-hand. Often when someone steals a phone there are two victims, the original owner and the unknowing buyer and while these measures force thefts to sell the phone at a much lower price, being duped out of any money is never a good feeling. If you do wish to buy a second-hand phone off an unofficial retailer look for obvious signs, if its too good to be true it usually is! and ask for an identification number such as IMEI with iPhone and look up to see if its stolen.
Phones are becoming more and more expensive and so it is completely understandable to be blinded with the low price and not ask yourself why. But trust me when I say it is not worth it, you will save your money and in the long run the number of thefts will go down.