Buying a used Apple Watch could be a smart move when it comes to getting a good price for a new watch. However, if the Apple Watch price is TOO low, there’s a chance it could’ve been stolen.
You don’t want to buy a stolen Apple Watch, as are severe consequences both legally and for your budget. So, stay tuned as we dig deeper into the subject and address all the relevant questions, including the legal issues you might have.
What Happens if You Buy a Stolen Apple Watch?
If you didn’t know the watch was stolen, you are unlikely to be arrested. However, if the stolen Apple Watch is not reset and the previous owner used the activation lock feature, you cannot use the watch as you need the previous owner’s Apple ID and password.
Don’t fall into this trap without fully reading this article, even if the price tag seems like a great bargain. Here are some of the main points that you should focus on in case you end up buying a stolen Apple Watch:
- You might not be able to use the watch.
- The real owner could track you and press legal charges.
- You could end up losing the money spent on the watch.
- You won’t be able to pair your device with the Apple Watch.
Of course, the logical thing to do if you figure out that the watch you purchased is stolen is to turn it to the police. However, this makes no guarantee that the watch will ever reach its original owner, while you’ll certainly lose the money spent on the watch without even using it.
Even so, it’s the smartest thing to do here since you don’t want to get into a legal mess. But, first, you could end up being charged as an accomplice if the police find the illegal seller and if evidence points towards you knowingly buying a watch.
On the other hand, you might have to go through court processes to prove your innocence. In addition, the rightful owner of the Apple Watch you bought might be able to track you down through software connectivity with iCloud.
Please read my detailed article for a complete guide on how an Apple watch can be tracked.
Is Activation Lock on the Apple Watch?
If the watch were stolen from its original owner, you wouldn’t be able to connect it with your iPhone or iCloud account if the owner put an activation lock on the Apple Watch.
It makes the watch impossible to pair it with another device with the activation lock without having the previous owner’s Apple ID and password. Luckily, you can easily test this before you end up buying a watch with an unclear history.
The previous owner needs to unpair the Apple Watch before selling it for you to easily pair the watch with your Apple account and connect it with your device. When buying the watch, ask the owner to picture the unpaired Apple Watch or even show a video of them doing the unpairing process.
If they’re not willing to do this, take it as a red flag and NOT buy their Apple Watch.
How Original Owners Can Track the Watch
If you have an Apple Watch already or have had it before, you can test this out.
Go to ‘Find My, ‘ which will show your Apple watch’s previous known location pinged on cellular data or Wi-Fi.
Keep in mind that if you buy a stolen Apple Watch, the rightful owner can easily do the same and track your location. Afterward, if the owner alarms the law enforcement, you could end up being in serious trouble of being accused of theft.
Of course, the right thing to do is bring the watch to the police station yourself, but in this case, you’ll probably end up losing the money. Still, it’s a small price to pay for having peace of mind and knowing that charges won’t be pressed against you.
How Do I Know an Apple Watch Is Stolen?
If the Apple Watch is sold at an extremely low price, doesn’t come in original packaging, and is set to activation lock, requiring the previous owner’s Apple ID and password to unlock the watch, it could be stolen.
These are clear signs that the watch is stolen, especially if it doesn’t have its original packaging or requires a passcode.
You should track the setup process before making a purchase. For example, to see for yourself that the activation lock has been removed, the seller should show the watch is unlocked. In another case, if the seller refuses to remove the activation lock, you should know that there’s something suspicious.
Normally, a seller will remove the activation lock to allow the watch’s new owner to set up the Apple Watch based on accordant personal data.
Can you overcharge an Apple watch? Learn the truth in my in-depth answer in my article.
Can Police Track an Apple Watch?
The police sadly won’t be able to track a stolen Apple Watch if the “Find My” section of the app doesn’t work as it should. Still, the previous owner can provide the watch’s serial number, and the police could track you down with this information.
If you end up being required to submit the watch to the police for an inspection, you could face legal penalties if it proves to be stolen. So, it’s best to immediately go to the police station with a watch you’ve bought and which you suspect was stolen.
Overall, you can never know if the police will go that far to reach out to all the resources for the sake of finding a stolen Apple Watch, but at least you can preserve your innocence this way.
In my article about if you can use a found Apple Watch, you will see when a person handed in a lost Apple Watch to both Apple and the police, they both couldn’t do anything, so unless the police use the IMEI number of the watch they cannot track the Apple Watch especially if it was restated.
Ultimately, at least now you know how to spot a stolen Apple Watch, as well as the steps to take if you end up buying it. You are not guilty of buying the watch if you’re unfamiliar with the procedures to identify a stolen object.
However, it’s the smartest thing to do if you go to the local police station and provide the watch for analysis. Keep in mind that you might even face jail time in some United States if there’s evidence of you being an accomplice or knowingly buying a stolen watch.