Oct 30

Solutions for Bad ESN/Bad IMEI phones

Stolen Phone


Hey all!   Due to the overwhelming  email response to our craigslist bad esn blog  post – We’re putting up the solutions for all to see.

Situation 1.  – BAD IMEI or Blocked IMEI phone:

Bad/Blocked imei phones are those that operate on the GSM networks. The main 2 in the USA are Tmobile, and AT&T.

  • Mobilelizard does provide a service for users of Samsung phones which have been blocked. To find out more, head to our website http://www.mobilelizard.com  and look at the imei repair service.
  • Sell to someone that will use outside the USA only .  A bad/blocked imei phone is useless in the USA for the most part.  AT&T and Tmobile have a combined blocked imei list . That phone is blocked in the USA.  However, if a blocked imei phone is UN-locked (carrier block removed so it can freely accept other sim cards to work with the phone)  and taken out of the USA, it usually works when a foreign sim card is placed in it.  This may change in the future, but for now it still works.
  • Sell to any repair store for parts.  Don’t expect to get the replacement cost of your phone  here, but at least you’ll get some money back.
  • Some customers have mentioned they have craigslist sellers sign a document saying they’ve sold the phone to someone else.  If anyone’s done this and had success  forcing the carriers to turn service back on to their phone – or even gotten feedback on what the phone companies are saying when presented with the documentation post in the feedback.

Situation 2.  – BAD ESN or Blocked ESN phone:

This refers to blocked phones on Verizon/Sprint/Boost/Nextel/Cricket/MetroPCS and all phones on cdma networks.

  • Sell to any repair store for parts.
  • Sell to someone that will use outside the USA .  This only works if the phone you bought has a sim card slot  for GSM usage.  Surprise!!!  The  rest of the world uses sim cards.    They’ll have to get the  phone sim unlocked. For iphones, gevey or RSim provides a fix.
  • Flash the phone to another carrier.   This is a great fix for anyone who doesn’t mind changing carriers. In many cases the plans are less.  As long as the carrier you  are flashing to will accept the phone you’ll have a fully functional phone once you’re flashed over.  You may have 3G instead of 4G  in some cases, but that’s a better alternative to a paperweight.

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to add your feedback!!

In recent months, we have been contacted by hundreds of persons asking for help. We offer services that will help people stuck with a bad imei phone but  this service is not free.  The most often asked question is ‘does it work?’ followed by ‘ how can I trust you?’   Yes, it works.  While we don’t  often post  all the THANK YOU!  feedback we get, we are not in the business of ripping anyone off.   Its pretty easy to research our trustworthiness.   Online, your reputation is all that you have.





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  1. Stacy

    I have a samsung galaxy s6 edge that has been blacklisted by Verizon with a bad imei number because of a past balance. Is there a way to switch carriers, or sim cards to be able to use it again? By fiancé is on total wireless network and I would like to join that as well if possible?

    1. admin

      To the best of our knowledge there’s only one way to negotiate this – email us directly for more information unlock@mobilelizard.com

  2. kadeen richards

    hey i bought a galaxy s7 edge with a bad imei but it was reported as a lost device am out of the usa can it work if i unlock it?

    1. admin

      depends on the carrier and where you are in the world.

  3. melly

    I have Samsung note 4 and note 5 blacklisted by Tmobile can I use them in Phillipines?

    1. admin

      Yes, once unlocked the Samsung note 4 and note 5 blacklisted by Tmobile can be used in the Phillipines

  4. Spice

    I have a verizon iPhone 4S that I used under contract then my account was terminated because I didn’t pay my bill on time. Now I have straight talk on an iPhone 4. The electronics people at walmart said I couldn’t use my straighttalk # on my 4S. (Probably because of the unpaid termination fee) … Is there any way around this? Change SIM card? I want to use it for straighttalk

    1. admin

      if you haven’t paid your verizon iphone bill, you will find they have blocked your phone from accessing signal towers. Your verizon phone needs to be unlocked – you can always try putting your straight talk card in there as the phone should be unlocked, but this may not work.

  5. Valerie

    SO like ive stated i owe a bill for a service and also balances on this and a few other phones and it will remain unpaid if my uncle cancels the service so is my phone blocked, blacklisted or bad IMEI as it is confusing and is there a remedy

    1. admin

      Bad imei = any phone that is blocked or blacklisted. A blocked phone has been blocked for non payment. A blacklisted phone has been reported lost or stolen.

  6. Valerie

    I had a tmobile acct in my grandmas name for 8 years and she has no passed. My uncle is demanding I close the acct butI have an unpaid bill and also 3 phones with unpaid balances. Provided he closes the acct and the balance remains unpaid which I cannot afford to pay at once my phone will become blacklisted and bad IMEI?? I have two phones I would like to keep running but as I said I cannot pay $1500? What are my options to keeping my phones active which whatever carrier, its an iphone 6 plus and an HTC One M8

    1. admin

      hello yes, if you do not pay bills your phones will become blocked with bad imeis. Unfortunately because of the types of phones you have there is no easy way around it. The 6+ will be useless inside the usa unless unlocked. the htc one m8 may be able to be fixed . YOu may have to switch carriers on both from tmobile.

  7. Pedro

    Hello, if I buy an unlocked Sony z3 but with a bad IMEI, this would work in Spain with Spanish SIM card ?. Thank you

    1. admin

      hello, yes that should work fine as long as the sony z3’s original carry is non EU

  8. pam

    I just bought an ATT samsung galaxy s6 active it has a bad imei can i get it fixed and use it for metro pcs?

    1. admin

      yes there is – email us directly at unlock@mobilelizard.com

  9. Miguel

    I bought an iphone 6 t mobile and it turns out it was lost or stolen. Can I give it to family members in mexico?

    1. admin

      If its locked with an activation lock, no it cannot be gifted. Also blacklisted tmobile phones will be blocked in mexico via agreement with claro/telcel

  10. jesus

    I recently made a trade for a iPhone 6plus and I didn’t get a chance to check the imei but when I got home I found out the phone was reported lost but it was still ready to be activated oon another carrier
    Is this possible if the phone is unlocked?

    1. admin

      Depends on the carrier it was locked to. If the iphone is Verizon/tmobile/att probably not.

  11. caesar

    I got a question , i bought a samsung S5 galaxy from a friend of a friend its from t-mobile i find out it has a outstanding balance on it , what can i do to be able to use this phone on any network or carrier , im open to all suggestions since i already paid for phone and the seller has moved out of state . Thank you for your time

    1. admin

      email us for more info unlock@mobilelizard.com

  12. John

    Hey ! If a note 4 on us cellular has bad esn can i still connect it to metro pcs?

    1. admin

      No it cannot be

  13. That guy

    I have a galaxy s6 I found it has a bad ESN # / or lost. I want it what I do to fix it.

    1. admin

      Give it back to the carrier company.

  14. joc

    I bought a iphone 5s for sprint and it says it has a bad imei and has been reported as stolen. What can I do to get it to work for another network?! Also what networks can I get it to work for and will it work for metropcs?

    1. admin

      No. there is only 1 network it might work on, you may get talk/text prob no data and the unlock for a sprint iphone that has a bad imei is quite expensive. you’re better off getting another phone.

  15. Heather

    Hi. I bought a nexus 6 off a friend…..turns out she owes money on her T-Mobile bill connected to the phone. Is there a way to unlock the nexus so I can use it? Looking for a straight talk service after unlocking. TIA

    1. admin

      nexus 6 – should have come unlocked. its possible tmobile relocked it when the bill was not paid. If it is still unlocked you may be able to use another service.

  16. Jon mccoy

    Hi, me and my ex split up she left after smashing my s4 so she gave me her sprint note3 since then it was reported as lost is there a fix to be able to use with straight talk or net10 or?????

    1. admin

      there is a fix. However it won’t work on straight talk or net 10.

  17. Anna

    I bought a iphone 6 with at&t carrier but it comes up with a bad imei # (lost/stolen) what can i do

    1. admin

      This phone will no longer work in the usa

      1. abe

        i HAVE A AT AND T IPHONE 6. IT Has been reported blacklisted/stolen can i activate this phone through a prepaid service with a different sim card ? If so what are some that i can use ?

        1. admin

          To the best of our knowledge there is no way to get around a blacklisted stolen iphone from AT&T that will allow you to use it in the USA

  18. Anna

    Hi i bought a phone off someone on offerup the imei # comes up lost/stolen what can i do to fix this

    1. admin

      depends on the phone and the carrier. Sometimes there is no fix. Offer up might be affordable but its best to stay with sources that won’t sell you bad imei phones

  19. johnny

    I have 3 sprint phones with bad esn. If I get these unlocked would I be able to use it on other carriers like att or t-mobile since these carriers are GSM networks? I did swappa esn checks and activation were good just a bad payment history. By the way it’s 2 iPhone 6 and 1 galaxy s6..thanks!

    1. admin

      Depends on what you mean by bad. Email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com for more info.

  20. Darin

    Hi, I have recently gotten my hands on a USCC Samsung note edge with a bad ESN. Is there anything you can do with this one?

    1. admin

      Look for someone in your neighborhood to flash it.

  21. Abigail

    I bought a phone and put in the new Straight Talk SIM Card. After one hour, I tried to make a phone call on my Galaxy S4 and it said that the phone has been blocked from the network. I am in the US and want to continue to use the phone here. Is there any help for me?

    1. admin

      Yes there is – email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com

  22. Brian Bent

    Two questions: a few months ago I received an iPhone 5s and checked the IMEI number on imeidata.net. It is black listed on ATT but NOT on cricket. Says it’s clean. Can I activate this phone on my cricket account? I also recently bought an iPhone 6+ that has a clean IMEI number, but it’s registered to sprint. I’ve gotten mixed responses on changing it over. Is it possible to change a sprint phone over to cricket? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


    1. admin

      Blacklisted at&t iphones and blacklisted at&t phones in general cannot be used on Cricket’s network – unlocked or not. Cricket uses AT&T towers and is essentially AT&T – just cheaper. The sprint iphone if clean, can be unlocked. Then it can be used on Cricket.

  23. tony

    hi..I recently had a droid bionic unlocked for the telcel network.I really dont like the poor service.Is it possible to unlock for an american carrier?thank you

    1. admin

      if it is unlocked it will work on any other network

  24. John

    I currently have lgg2 and iPhone 6 on Verizon can these phones be changed to page plus prepaid if I owe money to verizon or will verizon block the phones from being used?

    1. admin

      Based on the mutual agreement between page plus and verizon, any verizon phone with a bad or blocked esn/imei will not work on page plus unless remedied.

  25. Carlos

    I have an HTC one M7 sprint with bad esn/imei. What other carriers could I flash it to that would still allow me to talk text and use 4g lte. Or can I get rid of the esn? I got it on craigslist and couldnt get a refund :/

    1. admin

      email us for more info.

  26. rob

    hi i resell phones and have come across many phones with blocks bad/esn on various t mobile to verizon. i understand these to be different networks. is there any way to say unblock and i phone 6 verizon from bad esn? lets start with that?

    1. admin

      email us – unlock@mobilelizard.com

  27. Kaylee

    Hey I Baught a sprint galaxy note 4 from online and it was blacklisted…. And is not unlocked is there anyways I can use the phone?

    1. admin

      It will be difficult to use a blacklisted sprint note 4 in the usa your carrier choices will be very limited its not always certain you will get talk text and data

  28. reina

    I did a switch with someone off the internet i had a verison galaxy s4 that i was using a prepaid card from walmart she gave a sprint galaxy mega that she said was unlocked but unfortunately it isnt ive put a cricket card and t-moble card and it says invalid sim card i dont want to go pay the verison bill if its not gonna work i dont know if the phone is bad but is there a way that i can get it unlocked and use it for verison prepaid card like i did befor and be able to text and call i really dont want any other carrier

    1. admin

      Sprint phones are difficult to unlock. Think you got the rough end of this deal.

  29. Anyelo

    I bought a samsung galaxy s6 edge t mobile. But it’s blacklist. I want to know if i can activate it with another carrier. Ex cricket

    1. admin

      -email us at unlocka@mobilelizard.com for more info

  30. Dakota

    I found an iPhone 6 plus in my yard, it is with Sprint, its been completely reset, I took it to Sprint and they had no interest in helping find the owner I called and gave the customer service line the imei number and they said it was reported lost, is there any way to use this phone? It takes a sim card.

    1. admin

      There is – email us unlock@mobilelizard.com

  31. Frank

    Hi..I have a Galaxy note 4 bad esn from us cellular..Is there a fix for this phone..?

    1. admin

      Try your local cell phone repair stores, its possible someone will have a fix.

  32. Mike jonez

    I ended up buyin a sprint iPhone 6 plus with bad esn because wen I checked the imei on swappa and it said it was ready for activation … Is it anyway I can flash it to another coma on I don’t care which company I jus want to use it, I’m in the U.S. … Thanks

    1. admin

      hello. If your sprint iphone 6 plus can be unlocked it may be possible. We would need to know what carrier it is on. email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com

  33. lucas

    Hey, im looking into buying a galaxy s6 active thats originally ATT, but has a blocked imei(reported stolen or loss imei) can you fix that so I can use for tmobile? Would be great

    1. admin

      It is doable. probably better not to buy these phones, save yourself the trouble.

  34. June

    I bought a iPhone 5s (t-mobile carrier) with a blocked imei. I want to use cricket as a new carrier and they made me put my imei number in to see if I’m eligible for service and they say it is eligible for the service. Is this to good to be true?

    1. admin

      There is no way to unlock a blocked or blacklisted tmobile iphone at the moment.

  35. shawn

    So like most people I have recently bought a note 4 from a third party and it stopped working out of nowhere and said not registered on network I looked up the imei number and it has been reported stolen.. The carrier is T-Mobile my question is if I was to pay for an unlock code online can I use it on at&t service? Thanks shawn

    1. admin

      You will have to email us directly -unlock@mobilelizard.com for information on how to fix your blacklisted Tmobile note 4

  36. Shorty davis

    I have a lgg3 u.s. cellular phone that is locked because of an unpaid bill. Can it be unlocked and used again?

    1. admin

      Not unless us cellular does it

  37. Omelquis Martinez

    I got a iPhone 5s for Verizon can I get it to work for cricket, and how with a bad esn.

    1. admin

      You will have to email us directly -unlock@mobilelizard.com

  38. Jessie

    Hello Admin, im just wanna ask. I have a Samsung galaxy note 4 from Verizon and it’s been reported stolen bought it from CL and now it’s blacklisted. Do you know if i can still used it in asia? Thank you..

    1. admin

      hello. once blacklisted, the verizon phone becomes locked to verizon. You will need to have the imei cleaned or unlock it to have it work in Asia.

      1. Prinz

        yeah hey adming i purchased a motorola droid turbo off from offer up also reported lost/stolen or blocked by one carrier verizon, how do i get it cleaned or unlocked to use here in the USA?

        1. admin

          If the verizon phone is blacklisted – ie reported lost or stolen, it can be used under certain conditions. Email us for more info – unlock@mobilelizard.com

  39. Axel

    I just bought a Sprint iPhone 6 off craigslist and come to find out it has an unpaid balance. I use Verizon anyways. How do I get it to work on my Verizon service.

    1. admin

      If you unlock the sprint iphone 6 it’s possible it may work on verizon’s service.

  40. sam

    I bought a phone from someone recently and tried to turn it on. The phone plan carrier said it can’t be activated because someone reported it lost. Is there anyway to flash it maybe so I can use it or is it useless?

    1. admin

      without knowing what make model and carrier we aren’t able to answer your question

  41. Mario

    I have a bad esn Samsung note 4 my friend lost it and reported stolen, he found it when he moved. He gave me the phone can I flash it to different carrier

    1. admin

      Your lost/stolen samsung note 4 may be able to be fixed. email us directly unlock@mobilelizard.com

  42. ken

    Hi, I happened to buy a FACTORY UNLOCKED (T-Mobile) BAD IMEI Iphone 6. I wonder if I can use it with a carrier in Vietnam?



    1. admin

      if it is truly unlocked after going bad, then yes you will be able to use it in vietnam

  43. Chris

    Hi i just bought a us cellular lg flex 2 and was buying it hoping to unlock it and use it in metro pcs cuz us cellular said it cannot be activated and that they would not disclose why. And i just took the back off today noticed it says “Not For Sale” on the battery which i don’t underatand cause its not limited like a store demo phone or anything. My main question is can i have it flashed to metro pcs still or have it unlocked to use with different carriers?

    Thanks for yoir time and help ahead of time its much appreciated.


    1. admin

      hello. us cellular is a cdma company. Very difficult to move that phone to tmobile

  44. VanessaV.

    I bought a cell phone in Craigslist now is not working no more cuz the IMEI I is blocked do you know what can I do to make it work again or any advices cuz this means the seller claim the insurance pls any help cuz I don’t want to loose my money :(

    1. admin

      hello you will need to tell us the phone manufacturer and the carrier it came from – eg. samsung s4 at&t

  45. yenison quezada

    I have bough a smartphone from verizon( note 4), a few days after I activated with metro pcs, someone reported lost/stolen, at the very beggining I didn’t know what was happening with the phone so I went to a metro store and they told me it was on the blacklist, then contacted the person who sold me the phone, he called to verizon and they took it out from their blacklist, but I don’t know why still appears on metro and tmobile’s blacklist. please help me as soon as possible!!!

    1. admin

      hello – email us at unlock@mobilelizard.com for more info.

  46. Holly Frederick

    I was wanting to know if you bought a bad esn us cellular would it work on straight talk by just putting in SIM card have from straight talk

    1. admin

      Hello Holly,
      No thats not likely.

  47. Font

    I have purchased a sprint LG g3 with a suspended account (which I found out after paying for the phone). The phone is in mint condition. I want it to be unlocked for tmobile. is there anything I can do to have that resolved being sprint is so hard to deal with?

    1. admin

      unfortunately there’s no fix we know of that will allow you to use this with tmobile, especially since it is a suspended phone. Its possible you can get it flashed to work with another service such as boost or page plus/selectel.

  48. Brendyn

    Hi I bought a phone off of craigslist it’s a T-Mobile Galaxy s6 and the imei is blocked how would you guys fix that

    1. admin

      Please email us directly at unlock@mobilelizard.com for the Tmobile galaxy s6 unlock or unblock

  49. Gabriel

    I have a T-mobile phone that will be blacklisted once I stop paying for it because I am moving to Mexico from the US, next month. If I factory unlock it now, can I use it in Mexico with a Mexican carrier ? Or will the blacklist affect the ability of my phone to function in Mexico also ?
    Thank you

    1. admin

      Hello, we have gotten reports that tmobile phones do not work in mexico once unlocked if its blacklisted. Your phone will be Blocked, which is different – but it is possible you may still have issues.

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