The reason why iPhone theft is so high it is because the handset can be resold for a fair amount of money given how popular and high in demand the iPhone is. However with possible kill switches on its way, smartphone theft could see a reduction in the future, so what’s next for those looking to illegally acquire smartphones for resale?
In a scam exposed by 9Wants to Know, it seems that there are group of men out there who are picking up the homeless and those who are desperate for money and getting them to sign up for iPhone contracts at the Apple Store, after which they pay them some money (some up to $200) for the new phone, and leaving them stuck with the contract. The phones are then resold online where they can fetch at least triple the price since they are practically brand new handsets.
According to some of the victims, they are now in debt from anywhere between $2,000 to $6,000 as they were asked to sign multiple contracts in order to get multiple phones. Due to their desperation for cash, the victims signed up without thinking too much about it. According to Dan Connor, a man who works with the homeless at the Denver Rescue Mission, “How are you going to comprehend the long term ramification of things when you’re just worried about where your next meal is coming from?”
When Apple, AT&T, and Verizon were asked what they were doing about this issue, they declined to comment, with Apple stating that they don’t comment on “matters of security”. However according to Sprint, the problem of credit muling has been rampant ever since they introduced the iPhone. The carrier also stated that they have been very aggressive in the pursue of cellphone traffickers by hiring private investigators and have since filed about 40 lawsuits of their own.
This sounds like a pretty huge problem and we can only hope that carriers and companies such as Apple are working at coming up with a solution to curb it, especially since by bailing on their contracts, they aren’t exactly making any money.