If you’re in the market for a used iPhone, it’s always a good idea to ask the owner to disable Find My iPhone, which automatically turns off Apple’s theft-deterring Activation Lock feature.

But what if you’re buying a non-Apple smartphone? Can you still check if it was stolen? As it turns out, that’s exactly what CTIA’s Stolen Phone Checker service does for you.

Powered by the GSMA Device Check service, which provides up to 10 years’ of a device’s history as well as the device model information and capabilities, the free Stolen Phone Checker tool is an online service designed to help consumers, businesses and law enforcement agencies make informed purchasing decisions and limit the resale of lost and stolen mobile devices.

TUTORIAL: How to find your iPhone’s IMEI number

This is a US-only service so this tutorial may not apply to international readers.

How to check if the phone you’re buying was stolen

1) Visit stolenphonechecker.org/spc/consumer on your device.

2) Enter the IMEI, MEID or ESN of the phone you’re about to purchase. If you’re buying an iPhone, you can find this information in Settings → General → About. If you’re buying a non-Apple smartphone, ask the owner to provide the IMEI number.

3) Solve the captcha and click the Submit button.

If the phone isn’t stolen,“Not reported lost or stolen” should appear next to Device Status along with some useful information, including the device model, manufacturer and more.

Regular consumers are allowed to check up to find phones per day. Again, this service is limited solely to consumers in the United States.

Related tutorials

Check out the following how-tos:

Wrapping it up

If you have a question, post a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it. Please share this tutorial on social media and pass it along to the folks you support.

Submit your ideas regarding future coverage via tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

  • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

    What if the IMEI came out clean, but the previous owner doesn’t know how to report it lost or stolen?

    • Abhinav Chaudhary

      If a person is dumb enough to now know how to report it stolen or lost then he/she must also be dumb enough to not turn off Find my iPhone which is turned on automatically when you set up your iPhone, then IMEI would not come out clean thus rendering this question absurd.

      • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

        You’re talking strictly iPhone, I’m talking about any other type of phone. Unfortunately not everyone knows/thinks about reporting phones; they just get new ones.

      • burge

        Unfortunately when people don’t read the article they assume that this site only covers Apple products.

  • Rodney Coleman

    Best thing for any iOS device is to set up a repair to send in.

    Type in IMEI and it’ll tell you if it’s locked.

    Or check esn free dot com

    Easy ways for dumb ppl to find out. Mostly common sense.

    10/10 stolen devices from apple user are iCloud locked.

  • Abhinav Chaudhary

    Living in USA people must never have to think about if a service is available in their country or not as it always is. Like spotify, who’s home screen shows me the same message for the past 4 years ‘Coming soon to your country’, like they don’t want to expand their customer base.

    • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

      That’s because different countries have different rights, laws and regulations that must be followed before initiating sales, advertising or any distributions. If not legally allowed, they ask permission thus giving you the message “Coming soon to your country” which could take weeks or even years depending how urgent the matter is.

  • BasedOnAir

    Regular consumers are allowed to check up to find phones per day.