Buying a second hand mobile phone this Christmas? Check it’s not black-listed first

Dec 10, 2015

A mobile phone is one of the most popular Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, it’s also prone to getting lost or stolen.

That’s why the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) is sending out a timely reminder about its free public service which allows you to easily check whether a second-hand mobile phone is blacklisted before you buy.

Blacklisting blocks a device’s unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number, or IMEI, preventing the phone from use.This number can be found either under the battery, on the original box, or by entering *#06# into the phone. You can then enter the 15-digit IMEI number onto and see whether it’s blocked or not.

TCF CEO Geoff Thorn says you don’t need to worry about checking new phones bought from reputable mobile phone providers, only those that are second-hand, and in particular, bought online.

He says: “Just be extra careful when buying a used phone on-line. Ask for the IMEI number before you buy and run the online check. It takes seconds to do, but could save a huge disappointment on Christmas morning.”

New Zealand’s three largest mobile phone operators (2degrees, Spark and Vodafone) work closely to ensure that mobile devices reported lost or stolen are blocked across all mobile networks nationwide.Already, more than 67,000 devices have been black-listed since the TCF launched the service in December 2013 (approximately 2,800 a month). Meanwhile, the website received more than 186,000 page views during the past 12 months, equating to approximately 500 visits a day.

Thorn adds: “Keep a note of your IMEI number somewhere safe. If you lose your device, you can then report the loss to your mobile service provider to have it blacklisted. If you subsequently find it, your service provider can unblock your phone.”

On a separate note, Thorn says another smart thing to do when buying a mobile phone this Christmas is to recycle using the RE:MOBILE scheme. Again, this is an industry-initiative led by the TCF. It helps to reduce e-waste landfill, extend the life of technology, and recover reusable materials where appropriate. A percentage of the funds are donated to charity.

“Put your old phone to good use and resist the habit of leaving it to gather dust in the bottom of a drawer,” suggests Thorn.

“Simply drop your old phone into a RE:MOBILE recycle bin located throughout mobile phone retail stores such as 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone, and feel good about doing something positive for the environment while contributing towards charity. And you don’t have to wait for Christmas for that.”

Visit for more information about mobile phone black-listing.

Visit for more information about mobile phone recycling.

Top five tips for mobile users

  • Only purchase new or second hand phones from trustworthy sources – such as reputable mobile dealers.If you are buying second hand, always check the status of the handset on the TCF website first –
  • You can obtain your 15 digit IMEI number by pressing *#06# on your mobile phone. Alternatively, the IMEI number should also be on a white label found underneath the battery of the device, or on the original box.
  • If you lose your phone or you think it has been stolen, report this as soon as possible to your mobile provider.You cannot report lost or stolen devices through the TCF’s website.
  • Be careful where you leave your phone – avoid leaving it on café tables or bars. You’d be surprised at how skilled thieves are at snatching these items!
  • Put a pin, password or other form of security on your phone and set it to automatically lock, so that only you can access calling, texting and other applications.Install an application like Find My Phone, which will allow you to track the phone over WiFi if you lose it.

Conditions and restrictions apply to this service. Please check the website for full details of these.


For more information, please contact: Geoff Thorn, TCF, CEO 

Ph: +64 4 815 8176 | Mobile: +64 21 937 920

For media enquiries contact
Paul Brislen.

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