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Police warn about buying cell phones online that may be stolen

Last Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm MST

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, a man uses a cell phone in New Orleans. The U.S. communications regulator on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, proposed a $225 million fine, its largest ever, against two health insurance telemarketers for spamming people with 1 billion robocalls using fake phone numbers. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Buyer beware, cell phones showing up on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace might be stolen.

That’s the warning from Calgary police after almost 200 cell phones were stolen from a northeast warehouse last month.

Police said these devices are likely to be posted online and sold to unsuspecting buyers.

“In late August, 192 devices worth approximately $150,000 were stolen from a northeast warehouse,” said S/Sgt. Mark England. “We believe these devices will likely end up for sale online and urge Calgarians to do their due diligence before purchasing a cell phone online.”

Police said multiple cell phones were taken from the warehouse including newer iPhones, Samsung Note 20s and LG K brands.

Calgary police are now asking buyers to be vigilant when purchasing a phone online and offer several tips to avoid being scammed.

They include buying locally and using cash inside of wiring money and confirming the phone’s serial number or IMEI number.

Police added these stolen cell phones can’t be activated by providers for full use and can only connect to WiFi.

Above all, police said if it sounds too good to be true, it’s possible it’s a fraud.

“We’re asking anyone who finds they have purchased a stolen phone after August 21 to report the incident to police,” said England. “We want to stop the cycle of phones being stolen and resold.”

If you suspect the phone you’ve bought is stolen, you’re asked to call Calgary police.