How do I make sure a used phone wont be reported stolen?

I broke my phone and am looking for find a new one. I really like a few phones on offer up, they are slightly cheaper than buying a brand new phone. But I have had an experience before where I bought a phone off craigslist and it worked great for a few days. And the it stopped working. I called my carrier and... show more I broke my phone and am looking for find a new one. I really like a few phones on offer up, they are slightly cheaper than buying a brand new phone.

But I have had an experience before where I bought a phone off craigslist and it worked great for a few days. And the it stopped working. I called my carrier and they said the owner reported the phone stolen. needless to say the seller ever answered my calls. Is there any way I can make sure that doesn't happen if I buy a phone like that again?

For example, if I make the transaction at a t-mobile store and have a worker input it in my account that I paid for the phone. would that work? does anyone know?

I know about checking the IMEI before the sale. But how do i make sure I don't get screwed over after? Any advice?
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