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How to safely buy used iphone



I'm looking for a used iphone.  I heard a horrible story where a lady in Edmonton bought a used iphone from an individual.  Everything checked out at the time but before she could activate it the seller reported it stolen.  Would I need to activate the phone while I have the seller in sight to make sure I don't get scammed?  

Thanks for the help



Unfortunately if buying from a private seller it is kind of a gamble as even once you’ve activated the device if they call in and report the phone stolen it will end up being blacklisted.


The safest option if looking for a used device would the the Certified Pre-Owned devices available since they are being sold through TELUS or Mobile Klinik you would have some recourse if there is an issue, whereas a private sale really have to hope that you find an honest seller.


You can check the status of a device to see if it's been reported stolen here:
You need to have the IMEI number of the phone and you should also verify the IMEI number is for the phone you are buying.

Even if it checks out on the above web site you are still vulnerable if the owner reports it stolen after the sale as @CJR mentions.


The only way to be safe on a private sale is to have the owner call the service provider where the phone was last registered and tell them that the phone is being sold to you so that the seller can't report it stolen later. Then you need to call that service provider yourself with the IMEI number and verify that it was done.


If the seller refuses to do that then there's a good chance the phone is stolen.