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 0W-20 is my drug of choice.
Primary: iPhone 7 Plus, Galaxy Note 5, LG V20
Secondary: TracFones: iPhone 6s [AT&T] & iPhone 7 [Verizon]
Mobile Broadband: ZTE Z915 LTE hotspot (5GB for $10) + iPad Mini 4 w/ T-Mobile LTE