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Can You Sell A Phone Reported Lost or Stolen?

February 10th, 2023

Are you looking to sell your iPhone, but it is reported lost or stolen? Or, perhaps you want to sell your Samsung Galaxy that you found in a parking lot? In short, here at Jay Brokers we absolutely cannot buy or consider devices reported lost or stolen.

If you have a device that is reported lost or stolen, your best option is to contact your local law enforcement and they will assist you in collecting the property to ensure it is returned to the rightful owner and/or given to the proper party.

Lost or Stolen Phone

As a veteran online business with over 20 years of experience we have literally seen just about everything and we have heard just about every story concerning customers in possession of lost or stolen equipment. From customers that claim to have found an iPhone in a public venue to customers that claim they were given a laptop from a friend or relative, the stories and explanations typically sound innocent for the most part. But, what customers don't often realize is that gadgets all have serial numbers or IMEIs, which are unique identifying information, specific to one and only one device. Thus, any device that is lost or stolen is easily detectable by looking up the serial number or IMEI. Here at Jay Brokers we use a variety of databases to search for lost and stolen property, which combined, are as thorough if not more comprehensive than the government databases for lost and stolen property. All that to say, if you present an item for sale to Jay Brokers that is lost or stolen, we will easily be able to determine that it is reported lost or stolen, and under no circumstances are we able to buy goods that are lost or stolen.

In addition, many popular brands such as Apple and Google/Android feature built-in anti-theft controls integrated in their software and hardware, adding another layer of protection. Apple's "Find my..." feature allows users to associate their devices with one and only one iCloud account, meaning even if an iPhone or MacBook is completely erased, the device will still be associated with the original iCloud user, preventing it from being used by another individual. Furthermore, if an Apple device such as an Apple Watch or Apple MacBook is associated with a previous user's iCloud ID with the "Find my..." feature enabled and in the "lost" mode, then the previous user will be alerted as soon as the device is connected to the Internet (via WiFi or Cellular) with a location plainly visible to the previous owner (and law enforcement in many cases). Some customers don't realize this, and they attempt to sell us an Apple MacBook that is lost or stolen, but each device that arrives in our shop undergoes a thorough inspection including checking for existing iCloud accounts. Thus, once our team identifies the MacBook or iPhone is linked to an existing Apple ID with the "Find my..." feature enabled, particularly in the "lost" mode, then obviously we cannot continue processing the item, let alone pay the customer for the device. This applies even if the device is fully and completely erased as Apple designed the anti-theft feature to be a permanent feature on their devices to curb and prevent theft. Nevertheless, it's always surprising when a customer concocts and elaborate story and tries to explain away why the device they are attempting to sell us is reported lost or stolen and has another iCloud ID associated with it. In all cases, the device gets handed over to law enforcement and the customer's information is supplied to law enforcement to help them investigate the matter further. Here at Jay Brokers we cannot buy devices with existing iCloud accounts, and we cannot buy devices that are reported lost or stolen. There are no circumstances in which we can buy devices that are reported lost or stolen, period.

Last, even if you legitmately find a device left behind by someone else, every state or jurisdiction has unique "finders keepers" laws that dictate how to claim ownership legally. Examples include first registering the found property with law enforcement and then requirements to post advertisements in local classifieds or bulletin boards reporting that you found the property in order to restore the property to the original owner. Oftentimes the "finders keepers" laws require weeks, months, or even years of specific steps before you can claim ownership of the lost property that you found or stumbled upon. All that to say, it is very rare for an individual to legally claim ownership of a device they found that was left behind by someone else. If you find an iPhone or MacBook, you should always contact law enforcement and let them advise you concerning the proper laws and process to claim ownership of the merchandise.

In summary, customers who present lost or stolen merchandise to Jay Brokers are subject to a range of fines and penalties set forth by local jurisdictions. Depending on the value of the merchandise, the customer may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. It's certainly a headache for us dealing with customers who attempt to sell goods reported lost or stolen, but it does happen from time to time. In each case, the customer always regrets the decision to try and sell the lost or stolen products, as not only is the device handed over the law enforcement, but the customer typically ends up getting in trouble with the law. The bottom line is, here at Jay Brokers we have a zero tolerance policy for customers that attempt to sell us goods reported lost or stolen. We always cooperate with law enforcement to the fullest extent, and customers who attempt to solicit lost or stolen merchandise will always be handed over to law enforcement including any and all contact information, IP addresses, and any forensic evidence such as fingerprints and DNA on the device itself or packging. Customers contemplating selling lost or stolen goods to Jay Brokers should be forewarned that we do not accept them under any conditions whatsoever, and those customers who attempt to sell lost or stolen goods to Jay Brokers will always regret the decision given our zero tolerance policy and cooperation with law enforcement.

The bottom line is, if you want to sell lost or stolen goods to Jay Brokers, it will be viewed as criminal activity and if prosecuted, it could result in hefty fines or even jail time for repeat offenders. We do not accept lost or stolen devices under any circumstances, period.