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Old 08-28-2012, 12:17 PM
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AT&T now blacklisting stolen or inproperly scanned phones.

I didn't see a thread on this so I thought I'd warn anyone who doesn't know. I also wasn't sure where to post this so feel free to move it to a better spot.

AT&T now blacklisting stolen phones.

AT&T is now blacklisting all reported stolen phones, or devices they say were "Improperly scanned" out of inventory and major retailers such as Best Buy or Wal-Mart. What this means is that sometime after inserting your SIM card into one of these phones, AT&T will lock your SIM card and you will either get a message stating the device is blocked from the network, or the phone will only call AT&T's security division. Even if you put it back in another phone.

This lock is supposed to occur within minutes according to AT&T, however we have seen it take up to weeks for the lock to occur. This also applies to any pre-paid service such as Straight Talk and Red Pocket who use AT&T phones. If you are on one of these plans, you must call your carrier, not AT&T and request the account be unlocked.

Sounds like a good plan right? The only problem with this is, at this time, unlike Verizon, Sprint, and other carriers, there is no way to call in and check the IMEI before you purchase a used or refurb phone. Thus, if you buy a phone from Craigslist, Ebay, or a local used phone store, its imposable to check the esn like you would a CDMA phone to determine if it has been reported lost or stolen.

The best you can do is put your SIM in the phone and try it out before you buy it and, more importantly, make sure there is a return policy at the store you buy it from. At this time there seems to be no sure fire way to determine if a phone you buy from an individual or online has been reported lost or stolen, and AT&T will not unblock any phone reported stolen except by the person who reported it.

The only exception is if you have purchased a phone from a major retailer. In that case AT&T security division reports that if you take the phone back with the receipt, they will unblock it.
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