7 tricks to know if a mobile is new, refurbished or stolen

Smartphones have become a commonly used accessory for everyone. There are millions of makes and models, in price ranges from 50 to 1,000 euros and beyond. With such a market, there are not few who try to give you a hoot, especially if they sell you one of these phones at a suspiciously low price.

¿Is there any way to check if a mobile is new and original? What can we do to make sure it is not a second-hand, stolen, replica, or “refurbished”(Reconditioned)?

7 tricks to know if a phone is new and original: how to rule out that it is not a stolen or refurbished mobile

The best way to ensure that we are not buying a fake / replica or fake mobile is to do so. through the official distribution channels of the brand. If we buy a phone in a disreputable store or through a private party, we have more ballots that the phone is second-hand, has been retouched or even that it is a stolen phone.

However, there are several details that we can check for ourselves to ensure the authenticity of the terminal. They may not solve our doubts 100%, but it is a good thread to start pulling.

1 # Check the IMEI

The IMEI code of a phone is a unique and universal registration number that helps us to identify a mobile worldwide. It is something like the DNI that natural persons use, and it is the first thing we have to look at if we think that our smartphone can be stolen, second-hand or similar.

Usually the IMEI is usually a 15-digit code, and it is indicated in 3 different places:

  • In the box where the phone comes.
  • Inside the terminal chassis. Usually behind the battery.
  • By internal software check (by dialing the code * # 06 #).

The IMEI must be the same in all 3 cases. For instance, If a phone is stolen, the software IMEI will be different from the chassis and case. This is because thieves often change the IMEI before putting it up for sale again.

Why? If the phone is stolen, we can report it and request the terminal block using its IMEI code. Therefore, criminals often modify the IMEI so that it can continue to be used.

On the other hand, if the IMEI of the box is different from that of the terminal, it means that It is not original, and everything indicates that it is reconditioned or used. What is clear is that this is not the phone that came in that box.

Many brands also include a security seal or seal. If this sticker is broken, there we have incontestable evidence that the phone has been tampered with to a greater or lesser extent. Be careful, because not all smartphones include this type of seals.

On this sticker it says it very clearly: do not accept if the seal is broken.

2 # Check the GSMA blacklist to see if it is a stolen mobile

A great tool to know if we have a phone that has been stolen is to take a look at the app "Check IMEI”.

Download QR-Code Check IMEI Developer: Fernando Iguago Price: Free

Thanks to this application we can check if the phone we just bought appears on the black list of the official databases of the GSM Association. We just have to enter the IMEI and in a matter of seconds we can see if the mobile has been reported as stolen. The GSMA database has more than 800 operators (Movistar, Claro, ATT, T-MOBILE, etc.) and 200 companies, so the information you provide us will be quite reliable.

3 # Check the serial number

Like the IMEI, the serial number is another unique identifier used by the manufacturer. It is usually indicated next to the IMEI code on the chassis and it can also be checked by software by dialing the code * # 06 # on the phone.

Its format may vary, although it is usually one followed by numbers and letters. The downside of all this is that not all manufacturers indicate the serial number on the box, so it can be a difficult data to verify on certain occasions. In any case, if the serial number doesn't match, that's a bad sign.

4 # Run a performance test

We are entering more delicate terrain. Some sellers may try to sell us a phone of a certain range and within place modified components (and usually much cheaper).

A good way to verify that, for example, we do not have a 4-hard Chinese mobile with the case of a Samsung Galaxy S10, is to do a benchmarking test.

Benchmarking tools such as Antutu allow us to perform a performance test of our device to verify its power in real use.

  • The first thing we have to do is do a Google search and see what the Antutu score of our phone is.
  • Next, we install the Antutu app and perform a performance test.
Download QR-Code AnTuTu Benchmark Developer: AnTuTu Price: Free

Here it is normal that there are small variations in terms of the official performance of a specific phone. However, if the Huawei P20 officially has a benchmarking result of 213,000 points and our terminal gives a result of 40,000 ... it is most likely that what they have sold us is not a Huawei P20.

5 # Get information about the internal components of the device

If we have doubts as to whether our phone is new and original, this is another test to carry out. Just install an app that takes care of contrast the official components of a terminal and see if they coincide with ours.

Antutu Benchmark itself allows this type of verification to be carried out, but if we are looking for something simpler and more direct, it is best to try with Antutu Officer. A tool whose objective is to determine if a phone is genuine or a fake based on its components (CPU, GPU, battery).

Download QR-Code AnTuTu Officer Developer: AnTuTu Price: Free

Note: In the case of Android, the information of the components is obtained through a file stored in the system. A file that can be modified. Which means that it is not data that we can fully trust (although if it does not pass the test it is clear that it is a clone or fake).

6 # Check the warranty status

An excellent indication of the authenticity and length of use of a mobile is to check the status of the warranty. If we see that the warranty is about to end or has already expired, we will definitely be facing a used or reconditioned terminal - refurbished-.

Each manufacturer has its own methods to check the warranty status of their smartphones:

  • Manzana: If we have an iPhone, nothing is easier than consulting this page. From here we can check the service and support coverage of the device, simply by entering the serial number of the terminal.
In this sense, Apple makes it really easy for us.
  • Samsung: Unlike its big competitor of the bitten apple, the Korean manufacturer does not offer an online method to check the phone's warranty using IMEI or serial number. What it does offer is this support page. From here we can talk to Samsung technicians via chat, send them an email or call (902 172 678 for Spain). Providing the serial number we can know the date of manufacture of the phone. It is not a determining data, but if its date is recent, it is certainly a good sign.
  • Huawei: Like Apple, Huawei offers a page (HERE) from where we can check the warranty of our mobile by entering its serial number.
  • Sony: As with Samsung, Sony does not offer a direct warranty check tool. To obtain information we must contact the technical support team HERE. Depending on our country, the page offers us various contact numbers, support via chat or email.
  • LG: The same as Sony and Samsung. We can contact LG customer service from its official website HERE.

7 # Take a look at the particular characteristics of your smartphone

As in almost everything, the devil is in the small details. If it is a counterfeit phone or a copy, there is most likely some item that does not match the original. Whether it's the case design, packaging box, weight, software, or any other detail, there is usually a slight difference.

The best way to get rid of doubts is usually to take a look on YouTube and do a search like:

“[mobile name] original versus copy / clone / forgery / fake ” (or some other similar term)

At any given moment, a good YouTube search can get you out of a bind.

Other signs that a mobile has been reconditioned or refurbished

A reconditioned, remanufactured or “refurbished” mobile - according to its English meaning - is a phone that has suffered a defect or breakdown, it has returned to the factory, and after being corrected it has been put up for sale again.

Therefore, we are not looking at a new phone fresh from the factory. That is why they are usually much cheaper than a new “normal” phone.

Samsung phones have an app that in theory is able to identify if a phone has been reconditioned. Is named Phone Info, and although it is not an official tool, it seems to have a very good rating from Google Play users.

Download QR-Code Phone INFO ★ SAM ★ Developer: vndnguyen Price: Free

As for the rest of the brands, the refurbished phones They usually have a mark or label on the box that indicates their condition, although it is not something that always happens. Apart from that, there is not much to check, beyond that its price is suspiciously low in store.

At Amazon, for example, they make it clear when a phone is refurbished.

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