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3 Ways To Avoid The iCloud Scam

There are 3 steps I consider to be crucial when I approach a potential iPhone deal. I want to share information because it benefits everyone in the long term. More people would trust the preowned marketplace and crooks would be less likely to steal.

These are my 3 steps:

1. NO IMEI. NO DEAL. (Before Meeting)

If the seller is reluctant to provide me with an IMEI number, then the deal is a no-go. But why is that number so important? Because you can learn if the iPhone has an active iCloud account on the phone before meeting the seller.

* How to Find the IMEI Number

>Settings > General > About > IMEI Number

With IMEI number in hand, lets visit my 4 favorite sites for pretty accurate results. I've attached screenshots of all 4 sites with results from 2 examples.

(Checks most technical specs of phone, blacklist and iCloud status)


IMEI Pro Checker

(Checks most technical specs of phone, blacklist and iCloud status)

iUnlocker IMEI Check

IMEI Check iUnlocker

(Checks carrier and blacklist status)

Swappa IMEI Checker
IMEI Check Swappa

* After using the sites, for extra assurance. Contact the resulting carrier listed from your results using Either visit the site of the proposed carrier and enter the IMEI number manually or give them a call.


This one is simple. Schedule a meeting at your favorite busy shopping mall, department store, cafe or major gas station in your area. Why? Because you're exchanging several hundred dollars without any security or facilitation. The brighter the better and the more open the better.

I prefer coffee shops and cafes because I can sit down, use Wi-fi, have a conversation and thoroughly apply Rule #3.


This step can be a little time consuming, but I always feel better after taking an extra 5 minutes to ensure my money is going towards a good and useful product. What do I look for:

- Check for deadspots on the iPhone screen

- Plug in Sim Card (if applicable) and make a phone call

- Play a sample song through iTunes to check speaker functionality

- Take a front facing and rear facing picture to check camera

- For the iPhone 5s and after, check Touch ID functionality (This is important for ApplePay and phone security)

Above: I am checking the fingerprint (Touch ID) of this iPhone 5s. This is important for iPhone security functions and many apps, including Apple Pay.

* Last but not least, make sure the IMEI number matches the one sent to you pre-meeting. Go to Settings > About > IMEI

With these tools in hand, use them to avoid being scammed and sending your hard earned dollars to a shady seller on the local marketplace and way away feeling like Steve.

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