This was much easier in the days of analog TracFones...but yeah, not worth the risk. I actually bought a refurb'd 2285 and it activated without a problem, but it had no prepaid menu. I programmed it myself and it had unlimited minutes/text messages. I didn't use it too much since I wanted to sell it on eBay, so I just mailed it back to them for an exchange.
Castrol EDGE 5W-30 is my drug of choice.
Primary: iPhone 6 64GB, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Avant: 5 lines, 3x $5 Android web, 1x $2.99 T-Zones
Secondary: iPhone 5 & Motorola E LTE: TracFone (Verizon)
Mobile Broadband: ZTE Z915 LTE hotspot (5GB for $10) + iPad Mini Retina w/ T-Mobile LTE