What is a verification photo?

What is a verification photo?

A “verification photo” is a low-tech — but effective — anti-fraud measure used by Swappa to keep the marketplace safe. A verification photo contains the item being sold along with a unique code provided by Swappa. This photo provides proof that the seller actually has the item being sold.

Here are a few example verification photos:


Each verification photo should meet the following criteria:

  • It should display the entire item with the screen on (if applicable)
  • The listing code should be displayed next to the item, written on a piece of paper (not digitally added to the photo)
  • The listing code should not obstruct a clear view of the device
  • IMEI information should not be displayed in the verification photo

The unique code is the “listing code” generated by Swappa after you create a listing. So yes, you will need to create a listing first before snapping your verification photo. Note how each photo shows the device with it’s screen on or at an angle to show the screen condition.

By showing the item next to the unique listing code, it proves you (the seller) has physical possession of the device being sold. This prevents scammers from creating listings for high-dollar devices they do not actually have, for instance. It also keeps sellers from just providing stock photos or photos taken from someone else’s listing.

Verification photo for NEW items

What about for new items that are sealed in boxes? For new items:

  • The verification photo should display the sealed box next to the listing code
  • An additional photo showing the intact seal on the box is required
  • For new products that are not factory sealed, a photo showing the box’s contents is required, and the product should not be powered on

Here are a few example verification photos of a new device:


How to take a great verification photo

Remember that verification photos serve two purposes. The first is to show off the device to prospective buyers. The second purpose is to help staff verify the quality of the device and by extension the credibility of the seller. When you take your verification photos, use these tips to take a great photo.

The device is fully visible

Move the camera back until the entire device is visible. Also ensure the listing code does not obscure the device. The most common way to keep a listing code from obscuring the device is to write the code on the same sheet of paper that you set the device on to take the picture.

Good focus

This is dependent partially on the lighting in the room and of the device as well as your distance from the device. Most phones and cameras have dynamic focus capabilities that will let you simply tap on what you want to focus on. Often you will have to fiddle a bit to get auto focus to focus properly on your device so take some time and several attempts to get it right.

Proper lighting

Good lighting will help get your device approved by Swappa staff because it will be easier to review the quality of the device. It will also aid in getting proper focus. Ultimately this will also get your device sold faster because prospective buyers will benefit from easily being able to see the quality of your device.

The listing code should be in large clear text

As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to do this is to write the code on the same sheet of paper that you set the phone on. A large black marker is best but any other type of thick marker will work well. If you don’t happen to have a large marker a dark black or blue pen is the next best thing. Write large and clear so it can be easily read.


These are just a few tips that will help your listing get a quick approval which will help it sell faster. Verification photos are one extra step we require that most other marketplaces don’t, all in the name of safety. Once you’re ready to sell your device, hit the button below to sell it on Swappa.