Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Why You Need To Factory Reset Second Hand Samsung Smartphones

I was eating my late afternoon snack at a supermarket when a man in his mid twenties approached me with an S4. He asked me if I am a samsung fan and started showing off his phone. He showed me his google play paid for downloaded applications. Then he told me he is selling it for a low price and he is ready to download other paid application free of charge if I would buy it at that moment. I said I do not have money and walked away.

I could not determine if this man is the legitimate owner of the device. The fact that he can log in into google account connected with it is not the definitive proof of ownership. His offer of a paid application might look generous but if you look closely, this might be dodgy. And here are the reasons why.

Google play account is different from samsung account, they are separate identities. Google account is only applicable with play, gmail, you tube, maps and other third party apps located at play marketplace.  Whilst the samsung account is more intimate, in terms of samsung devices, and more discreet. This is because most samsung mobile owners are more familiar with their google accounts rarther than their account on samsung. And this is where the problem arises.

Possible Problems

If you have bought a second hand samsung device and it is not set into  factory setting, the previous owner can lock your device at will. Or they could play with your phone like wiping out the whole content of your SIM card, memory card and the phones memory. They can even track your location, your calls, messages and can even send you messages or even ring you in the middle of the night. And if the seller is a real annoyance, he might black mail you and ask money in exchange to leave you some peace.

How can they do that? This is by using the original samsung account and a piece of application on the device.

Samsung Account Find My Mobile

When you turn on your samsung phone for the first time, you are required to create, for new users, or sign in to your existing samsung account. The email you can use here is not necessarily from google or gmail. After signing in, your samsung account will be able to have an access to exclusive samsung mobile enhancements and findmymobile is one of them.

You can use your mobile phone or computer to access the site at 

From the site, rogue traders can do the following:

Lock your device. Once they lock (1) your device, you will not be able to unlock it unless you come into terms with the one who locked it remotely. You will need the unlock PIN(3) they set., which is different to the lock screen you have set. They might send you a threatening message (2). They can also have access to your call logs(4) and annoy you more by wiping data (5) on your phone's memory, sim card or memory card. They can also track the device's where abouts, once you are connected into the internet.

The most alarming is when they call and message (6) you with threats. You do not know where they are coming from and once they are able to lock your mobile, they can send you messages anytime they like and the only solution to this at this point is to power off the phone.

See video on how easy to do this whilst logged on to find my mobile.

To avoid this potential problem completely, make sure that the second hand unit is reset to factory default. You will know that it is on factory reset when you turn it on and you will be shown to log in or create a samsung account. Otherwise just click the settings, general , under accounts and back up, click back up and reset. 

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