New to forums, just re-entering android +mom got scammed


New Member
Apr 12, 2015
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Current Phone Model
ifail4s, galaxys4 and s5
Hello and thank you in advance for any help,

I personally have had iphones since I gave up my htc g2 however many years ago, I hate them but they were work phones.

I recently purchased/traded a galaxy s4 from a friend and am waiting on an unlock code to switch it from t-mobile to ATT and I'm making him do it to save me the $$$ and hasle, though if i have to wait much longer I may just purchase a code online. I don't have any knowledge of how to root or tweak my phone but I am familiar with the utility of forums and finding things for myself.

My mom is not so adept, she purchased an s5 local to her, I cautioned her to have it verified at the ATT store and make sure it was legit before she paid, she did so, they activated the phone and all was well until they shut it down 4 days later. According to ATT the previous owner can report the phone lost or stolen at any time, 2 days, weeks, years even and she is screwed, despite the fact that she had ATT confirm and activate the phone in store before purchase; they take no responsibility.

I understand her best options are to turn it in to the police with all the information of the person she bought it from, or sell it on ebay with a bad esn.

Any additional or constructive points other than the above mentioned would be helpful however, I just don't see how the original account holder of a phone can have permanent dominion over a phone and the ability to screw someone at any time for which the buyer has no recourse.



Super Moderator
Staff member
Apr 1, 2011
Reaction score
NW Rocky Mtn region
Current Phone Model
Galaxy S7 Edge
Welcome to the forum @jewpowered!
I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties your Mom is experiencing. Unfortunately this has been a problem for years and why I never purchased a "used" phone on EBay, Craigslist etc. For the very reason you mentioned, a device may not show up with a bad esn for weeks or even months which gives thieves plenty of time to offload the device and disappear before any problems arise for the end user. Unfortunately there won't be much the police can do, but you can certainly file a report, you never know. I can tell you it won't be a priority for them, but definitely inform Ebay if that's where she purchased it.
There are a few vendors that sell clean used devices, including most cell carrier's, though the carriers don't advertise it as much because they want to sell you a new device, so you have to specifically ask them for a used smartphone.
I'm sorry to say, at this point there isn't much you can do but take it as a lesson learned.
We're happy you joined & please let us know if there's anything else we can help you with. Hang in there and I'm sure others will offer their suggestions for going forward. Good luck!

S5 tap'n