How to avoid an AT&T iPhone unlock scam

There was a time when we were receiving requests to unlock hundreds of AT&T iPhones, sometimes thousands at a time. During that period, we chose not to pursue such business for many reasons. See the details in the Open letter to AT&T.

The two main reasons why we were not accepting AT&T iPhone unlocking orders were:

  1. We didn’t care for the uncertainty and the wait time involved with the offerings from suppliers.
  2. Given AT&T’s iPhone unlocking terms and conditions, the gateway for unlocking via third parties can close at any moment (it appears more stable now).

Other unlocking websites have decided to drop the AT&T iPhone unlocking service, leaving just a handful of suppliers available to choose from. With orders piling up and wait times becoming more unbearable, this has created an “opportunity” for some who understand the process to prey upon those who are in need.

To avoid becoming a victim of a scam, here are some points to keep in mind when ordering any unlocking service:

  • Carefully read and abide by all terms as explained on the supplier’s website.
  • Use a major credit card for fraud protection, when paying via PayPal, if possible.
  • Confirm that the supplier is PayPal verified by logging into your PayPal account, then enter their email address as indicated below:
  • Don’t worry about asking for lists of IMEIs for proof of ability to unlock. No one should publicly divulge someone’s IMEI, it’s just not good practice.
  • Save all communication, be it Skype, email, etc. This can be used if a claim dispute is escalated to PayPal. In fact, PayPal requests it.
  • If a claim dispute has to be opened with PayPal, restrict all communication to the portal provided by PayPal. This will speed up the process and readily prove/disprove the sincerity of the seller. We’ve found that scammers never communicate via the portal – and they will lose every time.
  • Include your IMEI and a link to one of the following websites in your dispute notes, proving that your iPhone is still locked:
    • or

We hope that you don’t have to open any disputes. If you do, hopefully, the above might help things to work out in your favor.

All the best,

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