What is a Blacklisted Phone

What is a Blacklisted Phone and How to Avoid Buying One?

Do you know what a blacklisted phone is? It refers to a phone flagged as stolen, lost, or involved in illegal activities. But it is an actual concern in the mobile phone industry. A blacklisted phone is a device reported as lost or stolen. The phones are prevented from connecting to the network. That can happen for many reasons and cause headaches for that device owner. This blog post talks about blacklisted phones. It explains what it means to have a blacklisted phone and how it can be problematic. It also advises on what to do if you own a blacklisted phone. Are you ready to learn more? Okay, let's begin.

What Is a Blacklisted Phone?

Smartphones that are lost, stolen, or have unpaid bills are recorded in the GSMA IMEI database. Based on each phone's distinct IMEI or ESN number, that database blacklists and categorizes those devices. These numbers look like social security numbers or serial numbers. Every number belongs to only one phone. When a device's IMEI or ESN is blacklisted, cellular service providers cannot provide any cellular services for that device.

Who Makes the Decision About Which Phones Are Blacklisted? 

Phone carriers are usually the ones who blacklist smartphones. If someone reports a phone stolen to carriers like Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, or others, the carrier must blacklist the phone. They do this by reporting their ID numbers to the GSMA Database. That makes it impossible for the phone to use cellular services. 

Moreover, legal authorities can contact service providers and ask them to blacklist a phone. If lost, the choice to blacklist the phone is up to the customer. Different mobile phones, like Apple iPhones and Android phones, can be on a blacklist. However, smartphone makers, such as Samsung and Apple, cannot control the blacklisting of mobile devices.

Things to Know About Blacklisted Phones

People who want to buy or sell used phones should be aware of the dangers that come with blacklisted devices. But, there are situations where a service provider can change a phone's blacklist status after the proper owner verifies ownership. However, it is important to note that blacklisting is typically permanent. 

If you purchase a phone that has been blacklisted, you will likely be disappointed to know that you cannot activate it for cellular service. Putting a SIM card from your service provider into the phone won't give you access to the cellular network. There will be no signal. Yes, you can use WiFi on these devices to download apps or stream content. 

Things to Know About Blacklisted Phones

Check Out: What Is a Refurbished Phone and Why Do You Need One?

How to Determine if Your Mobile Device Is Blacklisted?

If you want to avoid wasting money on a phone that is blacklisted, it's a good idea to verify its blacklist status before buying it. You can follow these simple steps to check whether your phone is eligible for network services.

1. Find the IMEI Number of Your Device

To check if a used phone has been blacklisted, you must find the device's IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. If you are considering purchasing from a private seller or already have the phone, you will require the IMEI number of the mobile device to proceed with a blacklist check. There are several places where you may find this distinctive identifier:

  • Enter #06# on the keypad of your phone and proceed to dial.
  • Please navigate to the "About" section in the phone's Settings.
  • Examine the back of the smartphone, its battery, or the packaging.

If a seller cannot provide you with the device's IMEI number, take it as a warning sign and consider buying a phone from a different source.

Find the IMEI Number of Your Device

Check Out: 12 Simple Ways to Check if Your iPhone Has Undergone Repairs

2. Contact Your Carrier With the IMEI Number for Verification

To find out if the used phone is blacklisted, first, get the IMEI number. Then, ask your carrier about the device's blacklist status. Obtaining a direct answer through the IMEI check may take some time on the phone.

3. Get the History Report of Your Device

To reduce the risks when buying a used phone, it's important for buyers to carefully check the device's entire history before buying it. There is a convenient way to get a budget-friendly Phonecheck complete device history report. This report looks closely at stolen phones, blacklisted or lost phones, carrier eligibility, bad ESN statuses or device locks, and more. 

blacklisted or lost phones

Removing a Cell Phone from the Blacklist

You must contact your old carrier to remove your phone from the blacklist. Unfortunately, they probably have a very excellent reason for doing so. Providers will only unblock a device if they sell you the phone in the first place. If they cannot remove the item from the list, they must either pay you back or remove it themselves. You can also contact the police. However, if you do, they might start an investigation. Even if you lawfully acquired a used smartphone, it may not work when discovered on the blacklist. ‍

Check Out: How To Unlock a Refurbished iPhone?

What to Do With a Phone That Has Been Blacklisted

Unintentional shoppers aiming to save money often acquire blacklisted phones that cannot be used for cellular service. If you have purchased a blacklisted phone, there are several options available to you:

1. Reach Out to the Seller to Get a Refund for the Blacklisted Device:

Buying a phone from an individual seller, like on websites like eBay, can make it harder. If sellers don't take responsibility for selling blacklisted devices, they should be reported to the authorities. If you want your money back, you can take legal action by going to the small claims court.

2. Return the Lost Phone to Its Original Owner

When you see a lost phone, it is usually blacklisted by its owner. They do that to prevent unauthorized users from using it and save the original owner's identity and data. 

3. Use WiFi Facilities

If you can't find someone who owns the phone, it's best to use it for non-cellular activities. Even though it is on a blacklist, these phones can still connect to WiFi and save files internally. You can do many things with this. For example, you can check your email, watch videos, listen to music, play games, and more.

‍‍Is Roobotech a Good Place to Buy Refurbished Smartphones?

Robotech is a stand-out retailer of refurbished iPhones in Australia due to various reasons. 

  • Firstly, Roobotech offers many smartphones, including the latest releases. We offer brands like Apple, Samsung, Google Pixel, and OPPO
  • We also offer a product warranty, which helps customers feel more at ease. Based on the grading system, the warranty period is 6-12 months. 
  • In addition, Roobotech has a group of specialists who carefully examine and evaluate every device before it is sold. That guarantees that customers get iPhones that are of excellent quality and work perfectly.
  • We have affordable prices, which is good for people looking for a cheaper option instead of buying a new iPhone.
  • In the end, we consistently strive to deliver our products promptly using safe shipping methods. 


Having a blacklisted phone can cause inconvenience by restricting the functionality of your device. It is essential to remain vigilant about the illegal methods of obtaining a smartphone to prevent obtaining a blacklisted device. Ensure the safety and security of your phone by tracking your device's IMEI number and reporting if any problem exists. You can take help from this guide to save yourself from buying blacklisted phones. Buy Safe!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to use a phone that has been blacklisted?

If you use a device with a blacklisted number, you probably won't be able to use cellular services. Your device cannot work as a phone. However, you can still enjoy music, movies, or games.

Can I run WhatsApp on a blacklisted phone?

Once your account is blacklisted on WhatsApp, you cannot utilize the app for calling, messaging, or accessing any other features. 

What are the consequences of blocking an IMEI?

Blocking an IMEI number can effectively restrict network and SIM card usage. Phone calls and SMS are not possible as a result. However, WiFi can be used to access the internet. That allows them to make online calls, text messages, and more.

Who can put a number on a blacklist? 

Authorities can also contact their service providers to get a number blocked. If a consumer loses their phone, they can choose whether or not to have it blacklisted. You can block any mobile device, even an iPhone or an Android phone.

Can I use WiFi on a blacklisted phone?

Yes, all smartphones can utilize WiFi. Mobile networks are the only ones where it is prohibited.

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