1. iMore Question's Avatar
    I bought an unlocked Iphone 5 off of craigslist and then I took it to the AT&T store to get it activated. During that process, I got to a screen asking for a username and password and there was a message saying "this phone was stolen whoever you got it from is shady AF". This message was accompanied by a number. The AT&T employee called the number on my behalf and talked to the owner. The owner said she now longer wanted it and the employee asked if she could provide the username and password so that a factory reset could be done and I could use the phone. This happened and I was given the phone with my previous number/account transferred over to it. The AT&T employee did a test call to the store phone and it worked.

    Then, I went home. I tried texting someone. It didn't work. I tried making a call. I got the the message "we're sorry, but this device has been blocked from network use".

    I googled what the message meant, and it turns out AT&T does this to phones reported as lost or stolen. I then googled for solutions and it said that if the owner calls AT&T and says it's not lost or stolen anymore, it gets taken off the block list.

    I know the name of the owner and where they work (turns out to be in the same mall as the AT&T store. If I went to them and asked them to call AT&T and report it as not being lost or stolen anymore, would that allow me usage of the phone?

    Basically I'm without any way of using my AT&T account right now on any device. I can't make or receive any calls. My communication is cut off. I feel sick. I'm also questioning whether I could face criminal charges for this purchase. Any advice or answers would be great.
    01-24-2016 12:30 AM
  2. anon(9733642)'s Avatar
    Deal directly with AT&T. Do NOT make contact with the devices previous owner. Go back to the store and work with the rep who did the transfer for you. IMO that's you best chance at getting up and running on the network again. Unfortunately, you may have to swallow the cost of the iPhone and be unable to use it. The story doesn't really add up. If AT&T blocks stolen phones then the rep shouldn't have been able to get it working before you left. It shouldn't have sent texts and should have received the error call message in the store before you left. What happened between it being setup and working and the time you got home and it stopped?
    01-24-2016 12:47 AM
  3. Garz's Avatar
    Probably half of the phones sold on CL are stolen. CL is very shady in the first place. Just move on and leave the original owner alone.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    01-24-2016 01:19 AM
  4. SwitchBeach's Avatar
    Also, if the original owner reported it lost or stolen and then received an insurance payment, you will never be able to use the phone.
    01-24-2016 07:58 AM
  5. MikeH16's Avatar
    I heard people buying stolen iphones and they were able to use it by having cellphones technicians "jailbreaking" the phones. These technicians should lso be monitored and held liable. This will only encourge people in buying stolen phones.
    01-25-2016 11:45 PM
  6. JML5150's Avatar
    I heard people buying stolen iphones and they were able to use it by having cellphones technicians "jailbreaking" the phones. These technicians should lso be monitored and held liable. This will only encourge people in buying stolen phones.
    Thats misinformation. Jailbreaking does not get around Activation Lock, Any stolen device without that persons iCloud info is just an expensive paperweight.
    01-26-2016 12:03 AM

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