1. Zendroid1's Avatar
    I purchased an N5 a few months back on Craigslist and I don't have the original owners info any longer. I used the phone on AT&T originally and recently got a T-Mobile SIM to use a prepaid plan. Upon trying to activate the SIM it wouldn't give me service. So I just got off the phone with T-Mobile and they said the phone has been "Blocked" for service by the original owner, whatever that means. Does this mean the owner reported the phone as stolen? Or does anyone know what can be done?

    Edit to add: My AT&T sim still works so it's only "Blocked" from T-Mobile. Does this mean it's locked to AT&T?
    12-09-2014 03:00 PM
  2. Rukbat's Avatar
    they said the phone has been "Blocked" for service by the original owner, whatever that means. Does this mean the owner reported the phone as stolen?
    Probably. I call it the Craig's List Scam. He gets your money, reports the phone stolen and gets a new one for the insurance price. You get stuck.

    Or does anyone know what can be done?
    Call TMobile and ask for their fraud division. Discuss it with them. Also with your local police department frauds division. (The original owner committed larceny by fraud against you and an insurance fraud, and that's a police matter.)

    (You might also want to contact the FCC's legal office in DC - since the ad was placed on the internet, it's an interstate matter and they might do something. The FTC's consumer fraud's division too. Your ISP is also involved - so is his. You could, if you want to bother, make a huge federal case [literally] out of this.)

    My AT&T sim still works so it's only "Blocked" from T-Mobile.
    Or AT&T isn't checking IMEI numbers (which they should be for "legitimately" stolen phones).

    The problem is that, technically, according to the law, you're in possession of stolen property, and accessing a computer without the owner's permission (which violates of a couple of federal laws) - unless you at least contact the police and TMobile (which, I assume, was the carrier it was originally registered on by the seller).
    RealDogBoy likes this.
    12-09-2014 03:11 PM
  3. Zendroid1's Avatar
    I called T-Mobile back to inquire about the fraud department. They did some more digging and provided more info and my situation is clear now.

    The original owner didn't purchase from the Play Store as he had claimed. He purchased it subsidized by T-Mobile and hasn't paid his bill so they blocked it.

    This is the only time I've ever been burned on Craigslist. Lesson learned.
    12-09-2014 04:05 PM
  4. raqball's Avatar
    Can you access your old phone records and then reference the date you purchased the phone? That should get you the sellers phone number, or at least the number you communicated with at the time of your purchase.

    I'd then file a police report. They can match that number to a person (even if the account for that phone # has been closed) and you can go from there.

    Good luck!
    12-10-2014 06:36 AM
  5. Zendroid1's Avatar
    Can you access your old phone records and then reference the date you purchased the phone? That should get you the sellers phone number, or at least the number you communicated with at the time of your purchase.

    I'd then file a police report. They can match that number to a person (even if the account for that phone # has been closed) and you can go from there.

    Good luck!
    Is it still a crime since he sold it to me then just stopped paying his bills so T-Mobile blocked it?

    I actually did look up records from around the purchase time. Unfortunately I called like 10-15 numbers that day inquiring about CraigsList ads. Even if I do find him what do I say? "Hey! Pay your bills loser!"
    12-10-2014 08:53 AM
  6. raqball's Avatar
    Is it still a crime since he sold it to me then just stopped paying his bills so T-Mobile blocked it?

    I actually did look up records from around the purchase time. Unfortunately I called like 10-15 numbers that day inquiring about CraigsList ads. Even if I do find him what do I say? "Hey! Pay your bills loser!"
    Yes it's still a crime..

    Give the police the IMEI and give the police the 10 or 15 numbers you called that day. They can easily tie the IMEI to the account holder and go from there.

    Even though they can do it just from the IMEI, I'd also give the police the 10-15 numbers you called that day..
    12-10-2014 09:37 AM
  7. Zendroid1's Avatar
    Yes it's still a crime..

    Give the police the IMEI and give the police the 10 or 15 numbers you called that day. They can easily tie the IMEI to the account holder and go from there.

    Even though they can do it just from the IMEI, I'd also give the police the 10-15 numbers you called that day..
    I'm starting to wonder if it's worth all my trouble. It's a 16gb device with a shattered screen. I had plans on fixing the screen but this makes me want to just toss the thing and move on. I suppose it could be used on AT&T but I'm T-Mobile now.
    12-10-2014 11:30 AM
  8. raqball's Avatar
    I'm starting to wonder if it's worth all my trouble. It's a 16gb device with a shattered screen. I had plans on fixing the screen but this makes me want to just toss the thing and move on. I suppose it could be used on AT&T but I'm T-Mobile now.
    It's up to you.. Might be worth the effort just to keep the clown from doing the same to someone else in the future,,
    RealDogBoy and gnr_2 like this.
    12-10-2014 12:01 PM
  9. gnr_2's Avatar
    I'm starting to wonder if it's worth all my trouble. It's a 16gb device with a shattered screen. I had plans on fixing the screen but this makes me want to just toss the thing and move on. I suppose it could be used on AT&T but I'm T-Mobile now.
    I wouldn't think it would need to be that much effort. TMobile knows whose phone it is so just tell the police what you told TMobile and let them contact TMobile from there.
    12-14-2014 07:53 PM
  10. Zendroid1's Avatar
    I managed to contact the seller by going through my cell records and texting many people to ask if they sold it to me.

    Seller claims they will pay off the device and all debts soon and will have the phone un-blacklisted.

    I'll find out soon if this is a happy end to this story (especially since I replaced the screen, battery, and back housing).
    belodion likes this.
    12-31-2014 10:26 AM
  11. gnr_2's Avatar
    Is it still a crime since he sold it to me then just stopped paying his bills so T-Mobile blocked it?
    Is no different than selling a car you just financed, then not paying the bank for it. The bank then comes to repossess the car from the new "owner" because the car still belongs to them and the person selling it never had legal rights to sell it to someone else because it wasn't theirs.

    Only thing is, this can't happen with a car (unless you are really stupid) because you have to have the title. With this new approach to phones, phone companies will need to start issuing something like a paid in full document or something similar for discounted phones and after market customers will need to demand either store receipts or these documents from the phone company when purchasing from someone online.

    (This would also limit selling of stolen phones too.)
    01-05-2015 11:36 AM
  12. dan1431's Avatar
    A good friend of mine recently went through something all too entirely similar and to T-Mobile's credit they actually ended up helping her out.

    She purchased a Samsung Galaxy S5 off of Craigslist and it would not register on T-Mobile's network no matter what she did. After trying a Simple Mobile SIM and that working, she called T-Mobile to find out what was going on. After getting passed around she finally spoke with a Fraud Investigator who made no promises but asked that if she had any sort of receipt or email/emails showing a transaction he would see what he could do, especially because she wanted to start service with T-Mobile after being with VZW (since the day of Bell Atlantic Mobile).

    She had multiple emails from the seller, plus she had printed out the Craigslist add (in case anything went wrong with the sale) and faxed all of them to the T-Mobile Fraud Investigator. A few days later he called her back that unfortunately she could not keep the device, but he was able to work it so that T-Mobile would send her a brand new Galaxy S5 at no cost to her. He ended up sending her a box and prepaid label to ship the "stolen" Galaxy S5 back to T-Mobile and IIRC the same day her brand new Galaxy S5 arrived from T-Mobile with instructions how to go about activating her account over the internet.

    All in all it was painless and T-Mobile which had no reason to bring about a happy ending, actually ended up saving the day.

    Dan
    gnr_2 likes this.
    01-06-2015 10:55 AM

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