Jun 06

Avoid buying stolen phones! how to check if the phone you’re buying is stolen or blacklisted


At MobileLizard, we  get hundreds of emails a week, mostly  questions about how to fix a bad imei problem.  Every now and then someone will check in with us BEFORE buying the phone (AHA!) so they don’t run into that bad imei or blacklisted phone issue.  We thought it might useful for people to see what goes into – or what’s the safest way to get a used phone for less than retail pricing.

10 years ago when we first got into the business of cell phones – Craigslist didn’t even have a separate section for cell phone sales.  Now  there are thousands of phones for sale in every city,  between  major carriers,  independent phone store dealers, walmart, gas stations, ebay, and pawn shops you can buy a phone almost any place these days.  The one place most people turn to for  a premium smart phone at a good price is, of course CRAIGSLIST.   There you can find an iphone 6 plus, or the latest in Android technology – a samsung Note Edge or Galaxy s6 for a reasonable price.  It seems simple – you meet with the buyer, examine the phone and purchase.  You walk away with a new phone, and they walk away with your cash.save-money


The problem is not everyone on Craigslist is honest, and not every buyer is educated in the risks associated with buying second hand smartphone.  Most folks just want to save money.  So here are some precautions you can take.


1. Check the ESN or IMEI of the phone you are buying. There are some free online sources such as  Swappa.com  However, the best information comes from the carriers themselves.  Tmobile, and Verizon provide their own bad esn/ imei and activation information – If the phone cannot be activated on the carrier – you’re buying a bad phone.

2. Check the phone compatibility – Sprint Phones are often sold very cheaply in the second hand market – This is because they are difficult to unlock, and are rarely compatible with other popular carriers like Tmobile /Simple mobile or metro pcs.

Sprint phones do use sim cards, but this does not mean you can put a Tmobile or ATT sim card in it. Even clean sprint phones will usually not work with other carriers.  There are some exceptions, but be prepared to pay $80-$200  extra to get this additional function.

3.Check the contract status of the phone.  Sellers will often put their phones up for sale knowing the phone is still under contract, or there is a large unpaid bill.  The phone will still be ‘clean’  but as the carrier company realizes the bills continue to go unpaid, it will be flagged and blocked in the system.  You’ll have a phone that works fine for a few weeks or days, and then suddenly shows no bars.

4. What about people who sell you a perfectly clean phone but then reported lost or stolen?  There’s no way to predict or prevent a seller calling in their phone lost or stolen.  As long as they are the owner of record with the Phone carrier, that possibility always exists.   You can insist on being at  a carrier store and having the carrier remove that phone  and transfer the imei or esn to you. However that can only be done if the phone is off contract and no longer has an unpaid bill balance.


Anyone buying from Craigslist, on the street, from ebay, facebook groups or pawn stores can use these measures to prevent wasting money on a useless phone.

The best place to buy a used phone is going to be a neighborhood store or a reputable  online reseller like Amazon.


There are fixes available if you find yourself in the position of having bought a stolen phone or a blacklisted phone. You may still be able to unlock a blacklisted phone, or get a cell phone plan if you have one. This does not hold true for all phone models – but email us if you have questions.









Jun 06

iphone 6S and iphone 6 C leaked! September Launch date for new iphone 6S

Its only June, but Leaks of the new Iphone models – the iPhone 6S and the new iPhone 6C are making their rounds.  Of course, every source is ‘reliable’ and ‘connected’  so read between the lines.  With a few new features in the 6S and a whole new phone – the 6C  Apple is cleverly masterminding the marketing drive for their mid OS release year.


According to Forbes magazine – Apple inadvertently posted pictures  on their website of what looked like a 5c handset with a fingerprint sensor button.  Since there isn’t an offical model of iPhone 5C with the fingerprint sensor button, MUST be a new C model iPhone right?  Sure looks like it:



The following  is from a Forbes article covering  the key new features in the upcoming iphone 6S release:

conceptualized iphone 6 '4inch'

  1. Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enhance user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market
  2. Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model
  3. There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose gold Apple Watch Edition
  4. The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12 MP
  5. One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality
  6. The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted
  7. The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes
  8. If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens
  9. The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay
  10. Gesture control support
  11. It’s expected that mass production will start in mid-to-late August. Total shipments will be 80-90mn in 2015, with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models

Analysts are currently predicting a launch date of Sept 9-12,  Apple iphone purists ready your wallets!  We will be unlocking new releases within a few days of the iphone 6S and 6C launch.


Thanks for reading!

Mar 16

Sprint customers can now unlock their cell phones

 The new  rules for unlocking  USA carrier cell phones went into effect last month.  As of  February of 2015 the big four cell phone carriers (AT&T, VERIZON, TMOBILE & SPRINT) all are participating in a voluntary agreement to allow users to unlock their phones.  Three of the four carriers had been actively doing this for over a year, with Sprint being the last holdout.

Finally! Sprint will allow customers to unlock  their phones.  Prior to the agreement unlocking a phone had been a great source of frustration for many Sprint customers.

Before everyone goes running into their Sprint store (or any other carrier store)  there are a few conditions that must be in place to qualify for the unlock.

1.  You must own the phone free and clear – eg. No payments owning on a finance to own plan, service contract must be complete.

2.  No payments owing to the carrier – eg. No unpaid bill or late fees


Once these conditions are met call into customer service, or  request your unlock online.  Each carrier will have additional requirements  along with the 2 main ones – after all they don’t want to make it too easy for you to jump ship.

In the case of Sprint customers,  there is  another catch – most of their phones are CDMA  technology, and cannot be unlocked for  GSM use ( on networks like AT&T & Tmobile).  Sprint’s unlocking policy states:

 “Specifically, devices manufactured with a SIM slot within the past three years (including, but not limited to, all Apple iPhone devices), cannot be unlocked to accept a different domestic carrier’s SIM for use on another domestic carrier’s network. Sprint has no technological process available to do this.”

Fortunately, third party unlocking services like Mobilelizard.com  are now able to unlock Sprint iphones.  Please note blacklisted and blocked Sprint iphones can technically be unlocked, but will not work inside the USA. They will work fine outside the USA once unlocked.

Email us unlock@mobilelizard.com  for more details.

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