‘London-used’ is the term used to describe – sometimes stolen – second-hand phones shipped in bulk from the U.K., U.S.A., Germany, and Malaysia among other European to countries like Algeria, Nigeria, and India.
Nigerians have already been issued a warning by Tunji Disu the Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RSS) on Twitter.
You may go to jail if you take your “London used phones” (second hand phones) to Uk, US, Germany, South Africa, etc, as most of the “London used phones” have been flagged off as #robbed, #stolen or been used for #fraud. We confirm recoveries of such phones in Lagos. Be warned! pic.twitter.com/IZ0PTQyCHn
— Commander RRS (@TunjiDisu1) April 29, 2018
The city of Lagos is particularly a top destination for the second-hand, fairly used London-used or ex-UK phones. These phones are popular among consumers who want to rock the latest high-end smartphones but are not able to break the bank to bankroll such expensive gadgets.
According to a report released in April by The Sun UK, there is a growing number of cases of smartphone theft in the UK linked to the booming ‘London-used’ phones being sold primarily in Lagos.
There is a gang of robbers who are going around London snatching people’s phones (with iPhones being highly targeted) in the streets. There were at least 16,158 linked to the criminal gangs.
When the phones get to Nigeria, they are first taken into computer village where they are unlocked and wiped of any indications that they might have been stolen. Although the people doing the work of unlocking the phones first sweep through all the data in search of any banking details they could use to siphon money out of the original owners’ accounts.
The sale of ‘London-used’ phones thrives in Nigeria because the government has yet to sign up to a global deal blacklisting importation of stolen phones. A Twitter user replied to the Tweet by Tunji Disu asking if the Nigerian government will any time soon ban the importation of these ‘London-used’ phone:
While there is no law in Nigeria outlawing the importation of the ‘London-used’ phones, people who purchase these phones and travel outside Nigeria run the risk of getting arrested for using stolen phones.