Used mobiles could land buyers in trouble

DUBAI — Buyers of used-mobile phones risk purchasing phones that were once possessed by criminals and who are being tracked by the police.

By Sebugwaawo Ismail

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 22 Jul 2007, 9:07 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:17 AM

An official from Dubai Police said they had tracked down a criminal on his phone, but found that the mobile was being used by someone else who had just bought it. "It is worse when the buyer does not bother to take a receipt which could prove that he is not the 'wanted' man," says the police official.

Ahmed Khan, one of the dealers in used-mobile phones in Deira said he had not dealt with any such case but had heard about it from other used-mobile phone dealers.

He also said he was careful about accepting used-phones from his suppliers. "Whoever sells a phone to me has to provide a receipt of the shop where he had bought it from," he adds. "I deal with only the people I trust to avoid buying stolen phones or those once owned by criminals," said Khan.

However, the owner of a used-phone mobile outlet in Deira testified that he had once sold a used mobile phone which later turned out to be a stolen one.

He said once the police raided his shop because a stolen mobile phone had been sold to one customer. He had bought it from one of his suppliers without knowing that it was a stolen item.

"The good thing was that I had all the details of the supplier and from then on, our business relations soured as the police took him in custody," said Mahmoud.

Among other problems faced by buyers of second-hand phones is the unpleasant material stored in them, including pornographic material.

Some others say that memories of many of the used phones are found almost full with contacts stored in them by the previous user. Omar Hassan, a Somali expatriate, who is a regular buyer of used mobile phones got a shock when he discovered that his young son was watching pornographic pictures that had been saved on the MMS of his mobile phone.

"I had not bothered to check all the contents in the phone but my young son who very often fiddles with mobile phones quickly found out all that was stored in my phone," says Hassan.

"Once I received a call when he had my phone in his hands, busy checking out pornography. After answering the call, I noticed the porn images stored in my phone. I felt so embarrassed in front of my son. It was then that I realised the pictures were saved by the previous users of that phone. I had to erase all these pictures from my phone," said Hassan.

More news from