How to activate a stolen phone from Walmart bought accidentally

You probably bought a phone listed online and the seller claimed that bought it from Walmart. However, you think it might be stolen but need to activate it, and probably return it. In this article, I will show you how to activate a stolen phone from Walmart and return it.

How to activate a stolen phone from Walmart

Honesty, the Walmart phone is practically useless if not activated. The best deal will be to return it to Walmart and explain that you accidentally bought it. But if you need to test your problem-solving skills before returning the phone, here is how to activate a stolen phone from Walmart:


1. Perform IMEI cloning

When a smartphone is reported as stolen or lost, the carrier, owner, or Walmart can request the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) to be blocked. The IMEI is a unique identifier assigned to every smartphone, allowing carriers to track and block devices.

Once blocked, the phone cannot be activated on any carrier network, rendering it practically useless.


However, one method you can use to activate a stolen phone from Walmart is IMEI cloning. This involves copying the IMEI of a legitimate device onto the phone. This is a highly illegal activity that can lead to severe consequences for the perpetrator. However, it can be challenging for carriers to detect this, as the cloned IMEI appears as a legitimate device in their system.

2. Activation via unofficial channels

Another method used to activate a stolen Walmart phone you bought accidentally is by using unofficial channels or services.

These services bypass the carrier’s activation process, allowing the stolen device to be activated without the carrier’s knowledge. This can involve using a third-party unlocking service or exploiting vulnerabilities in the carrier’s system.

In either case, the person attempting to activate the stolen phone runs the risk of being caught and facing legal consequences. Thus, it’s even better to inform Walmart about the device.


3. Carrier swapping

In some cases, stolen Walmart phones are activated on a different carrier than the original one known as carrier swapping. While this method can be successful, it requires the device to be unlocked. Additionally, the carrier’s database may still flag the IMEI as stolen, preventing activation.

4. Flashing custom firmware

Flashing custom firmware on a stolen phone can potentially bypass activation restrictions imposed by carriers and, perhaps, make the phone untraceable. This method of activating a stolen phone from Walmart involves installing an entirely new operating system on the device, which could enable the thief to activate the phone without the carrier.

However, this process is complicated and risky, as it can lead to the device being permanently damaged or bricked.

5. Sell the stolen phones as parts

Instead of attempting to activate a stolen phone from Walmart accidentally bought, some people choose to sell the device as parts, enabling them to make a profit without the risks associated with activating a stolen phone.

Components such as screens, batteries, and cameras can be sold separately for use in other devices. But the question of legality and ethics comes in. It is both illegal and unethical to sell a stolen phone as parts.

6. Return it to Walmart

Since you bought the phone accidentally, consider returning it to Walmart. The downside is that you will lose the money paid for it. Look up Walmart Standard Return Policy.

Just make sure to report the account of the seller on the specific platform. Send screenshots of the chats or even recorded voice calls as proof to help the investigation.

How people steal phones from Walmart

Before diving into the process of activating a stolen phone, understand how the seller may have managed to steal the phone from Walmart in the first place. There are several techniques employed by criminals to take phones from retail stores without being detected:

1. Concealing the phone

Thieves may hide the phone within their clothing or bags, and then casually walk out of the store.

2. Tampering with security devices

Many cell phones have security tags attached to them, which are designed to trigger an alarm if they are removed from the store. Thieves may use various tools to remove or deactivate these tags to avoid detection.

3. Swapping phones

In this method, the thief swaps the original phone with a dummy or a low-cost phone, leaving the original packaging intact. This makes it difficult for store employees to notice the theft.

4. Collaborating with store employees

In some cases, thieves may collaborate with store employees, who facilitate the theft by either turning a blind eye or actively assisting in the theft.

The phone did not magically get into the seller’s hands, so they may have obtained it illegally.

Read also: how to make a Walmart receipt for fun


Walmart phones have to go through the register and the serial number is scanned and activated by the store. The phone is a brick when not activated, and if you try to activate it, it can send your location to Walmart. Do the right thing — return it to Walmart to avoid getting into trouble.

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