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How to find out if your used iPhone has been stolen

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NEW YORK — Buying a used iPhone can be a shady process.

If you’re buying it from a third party on a site like Craigslist or eBay, there’s a chance your “new” used iPhone could have been stolen — iPhones are a hot black market item.

To help customers avoid purchasing a stolen iPhone, Apple has created an online tool that lets people check whether their iPhone has been remotely wiped by its owner.

When people lose an iPhone (or have it swiped), there’s a likelihood they’ll try to enable “Activation Lock” in iCloud’s “Find my iPhone” feature — a kind of anti-theft tool Apple makes available to its customers. Apple’s new tool lets people plug in an iPhone’s unique serial number or International Mobile Equipment Identity number to determine whether Activation Lock has been enabled.

If it has, that means you won’t be able to use the phone until Activation Lock has been turned off by its owner.

It’s best not to buy that iPhone. It was probably stolen.