Hello, Who’s This? It’s Me—Your Phone Scam!

I’m a very trusting person, and due to my susceptible personality, I’m stuck with a broken phone and $500 out of pocket.

When the Water-proof Samsung Galaxy S5 came out, I had to have one. I didn’t want to go to the store to buy an overpriced phone, so I decided to buy the phone off Craigslist… my first big mistake. Craigslist is a great site, but I found it’s not always the best place to buy technology. I found someone delighted to sell me the phone. When I met them to buy the phone, I did my best to make sure everything was working. Side note: always bring a friend when meeting a stranger to buy things, it’s much safer! The phone seemed to work great, so I bought it. I loved using my new waterproof phone… for about a week.

A week or so after I bought the phone I was in the store and needed to call my mom for something—my call never went through. I assumed I had a bad signal and tried again outside the store, but my second call ended with the same result! I decided to play it safe, so I called the carrier and asked why my calls weren’t working. The sales representative politely told me it was reported stolen.


My mom and I drove down to the police station the same day to fill out a report and hand the phone over to the proper authorities.

A year went by before I received the phone back from the police, the phone was no longer listed as stolen so we decided to call the carrier again. This time the representative told me the previous owner didn’t pay the bill, but we couldn’t pay the rest of the bill due to privacy laws. I was out of $500, and all I had to show for it was a waterproof phone I couldn’t use.

Now, what should you do to make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did? First, only buy items from trustworthy sources. If you do decide to buy a phone second-hand, ask the seller if they’re comfortable with you checking the phone with the police first to make sure it isn’t stolen. Take extra precautions to protect yourself from being part of fraudulent activity—or a crime!

The biggest lesson I learned here is to buying directly from a company instead of a person might be more expensive—but it definitely guarantees you get what you pay for. Personally, I’ll no longer be buying things from outside sources! It’s just safer to buy things directly from the company or trusted re-seller itself.

Have you ever been scammed like this? Share your story in the comments below.


Jennifer is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Missouri State University. After graduating in Spring 2018, she plans on furthering her education to earn a master’s degree in Administration. Her career goal is to become an elementary school principal or open up her own preschool. Jennifer is excited to work at Cengage as a Student Ambassador!

Jennifer has a very outgoing personality! She has a heart for animals, loves spending time with her family and loves to be involved in organizations on campus. She’s currently an honored member of Centennial Leaders (a highly competitive leadership organization), Senator on the sustainability committee for the Student Government Association, and Vice President of the Animal Rights Club (a club founded by her and her sister). Jennifer commutes from home because she loves every minute being with her family. She goes on many different memorable adventures with her family. Being connected on campus and helping other students are two of Jennifer’s biggest passions, which will make her a great asset to the Cengage family!

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