Buying a Used Smartphone: How to Spot a Scammer

Avoid Scammers

“Gently Used,” “Pre-Owned,” and “Second-Hand” are all terms that people are typically wary of when purchasing a smartphone. But it’s not the “used” aspect of the phones that should make buyers cautious—it’s the potential scams they might face in the buying process.

Quick reminder: Device Pitstop Maple Grove has smartphone buy/sell services you can trust. We offer reasonable prices, detailed phone descriptions, and exceptional customer service.

Scammers and frauds are everywhere in the technology world, so in this blog, we list a few red flags to be on the lookout for when buying a pre-owned phone.

Strangely Low Prices

In your search for an affordable used smartphone, you stumble upon an iPhone 11 for $50. Sound too good to be true? Then it probably is! If there is no explanation as to why the phone is listed at such a low price, it probably means the seller is being intentionally ambiguous to hide issues with the phone. That doesn’t mean you’ll never find a pre-owned phone at an affordable price, though. Safe, reputable device sales happen all the time. You just have to find the right seller!

No Customer Reviews

If the seller or the shop has little to no reviews on their website or other review sites, they are likely a fake shop or unfair seller. Before purchasing a phone from them, do some research to see if you can find any customer feedback or customer reviews. Google, Facebook, and Yelp might be a good place to start. If you can’t find any customer feedback or if the feedback you do find is extremely negative, don’t proceed with your phone purchase. The seller or the business probably doesn’t actually exist and is just attempting to scam you.

No Photos of the Device

Another red flag is a used phone listing without photos of the device or a listing that uses stock photos instead of photos of the actual phone they are selling. The seller likely 1) doesn’t have the phone they claim to be selling or 2) is attempting to hide exterior issues with the phone (cracked screen, water damage, faulty charging port, etc.).

Cleverly Worded Descriptions

Cleverly worded descriptions are a huge sign that the seller is a scammer, especially if they are also unwilling to meet you in person. Tricky descriptions could include phrasing like “iPhone 8 Box & Instructions,” which sounds like you will receive the iPhone itself, the box, and the phone’s instructions. A scammer, however, uses phrasing like this to make you believe you are getting a phone when you are only getting a box and instructions.

Refusal to Meet In Person

When you meet the seller in person, you have the opportunity to make sure the phone is not fake, locked, or severely damaged. If the seller refuses to meet in person or suggests an unsafe place to meet, they are likely a scammer. That’s why we suggest purchasing a pre-owned phone from a reputable, trustworthy cell phone repair shop.

Did you know? Device Pitstop Maple Grove doesn’t just offer computer repair and cell phone repair. We also offer a variety of device sales. Stop by our store and let us know what kind of pre-owned phone you’re looking for. We’re happy to help!

Have a broken Phone you need fixed? Get an instant repair quote HERE!