More iPhone iCloud locked phones found on eBay

Posted at 7:59 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 19:59:16-05

Brand new details about an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation we told you about. Our investigators successfully helped to get a big refund for a man who bought a stolen iPhone on eBay, but we also noticed there are still many phones on the site that are iCloud locked.

Some are asking if eBay is doing enough.  We did a search for “iPhone 6 iCloud locked" and numerous items showed up. eBay reps told us starting in 2014 they cracked down on iCloud locked phones. They said realistically those phones are probably lost or stolen and they don't want buyers to have a bad experience.

eBay reps said there are 800 million items on the site and there's a group dedicated to working with law enforcement and retailers to curtail stolen goods.

There are filters designed to block certain items like "iCloud locked".  However, some sellers change how words are spelled in the listing to get through those filters using a zero for an 'o.'  So, eBay says it physically types in searches.  "(We) use manual sweeps,” said Mike Carson, Senior Manager of Regulatory Policy with eBay.  “We take that intelligence and we'll feed that back into our system. We'll also look at people obviously spelling with zeros or with spaces have obviously hit our blocks before and are trying to take different tactics to get around them and we'll take more severe action against them."

It was pretty easy to find iCloud locked phones, so we asked if our story had called to light an area to look at more closely.  Carson told us eBay has been working on this for a while but it will see what's out on the site now.

Here’s a portion of what we were sent from eBay after asking questions about its policies:

“…As mentioned, eBay’s eBay Money Back Guarantee program protects buyers in cases where an item is not received or is not as described.

In terms of stolen property, we have a policy outlined below, which provides information on what a customer should do in the rare case they receive stolen merchandise.

Stolen property policy

In this article

Policy overview

What are the guidelines?

Why does eBay have this policy?

Policy overview

The sale of stolen property violates state, federal, and international law, and we notify law enforcement of any attempts to sell stolen property on our site. We also support the investigation and prosecution of sellers who violate this policy.

Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn't, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

What to do if you see stolen property on eBay

If you see stolen property on eBay, please contact local law enforcement immediately. The law enforcement agency should then contact us using our Law Enforcement Center and tools reserved for law enforcement officials.

A law enforcement official contacting us should include all relevant information, including the case number and any item numbers or user IDs. This information appears on the listing page.

What are the guidelines?

 Not allowed

Here are some examples of items that are not allowed on eBay:

  • Items stolen from private individuals
  • Property taken without authorization from companies or governments

If you think your intellectual property rights have been violated: Find out more about our Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) program.