How to Check a Verizon ESN

By Steve Gregory

One of the benefits of purchasing a used Verizon Wireless cell phone is that you can acquire it for far below the original price of the device. However, before you purchase the phone, you should make sure its ESN number is clear. ESN stands for "electronic serial number" -- the number is used by Verizon Wireless to identify a phone on its network. If the ESN number is clear, you can immediately activate it on the Verizon Wireless network. However, if the number is bad, you cannot activate the phone on the network because it was reported lost or stolen by the previous owner.

Step 1

Turn the Verizon phone over. Look for a label on the back of the device. If there is a label, the ESN number will be listed on the label. The ESN number is 11 digits and it usually has the letters "ESN" or "ESN DEC" preceding it. Record the number. If there is no label on the back of the phone, it is in the battery compartment.

Step 2

Turn off the phone. Turn the phone over and slide the battery cover off the back of the phone. If the phone has a button or release clip to remove the battery cover, press it and take off the cover.

Step 3

Remove the battery from the battery compartment. The label containing the ESN number is at the bottom of the battery compartment or below the battery. Record the ESN number.

Step 4

Call Verizon Wireless customer service at (800) 922-0204. Follow the system prompts to speak to a live customer service agent.

Step 5

Tell the customer service agent that you want to check the status of the ESN on a Verizon Wireless cell phone. The agent checks the system and verifies if the ESN number is clear or bad.