A local news report last night from Denver’s 9News reveals a scheme setup at Apple stores in Colorado that saw iPhone traffickers convincing people in need of quick cash to sign contracts and hand-over subsidized iPhones. The traffickers would turn around and sell the unlocked iPhones for full retail, off-contract prices, but in exchange their unknowing accomplice is stuck with the monthly payments or faces ruined credit. The report also claims that Apple store employees appeared to be in on the scheme. 

The men will drive victims to Apple stores and convince them to sign numerous contracts for numerous iPhones. Victims will then be paid $100 or more in exchange for several iPhones.

“I’m in the hole about $6,000,” Phoenix said. She claimed she was told by the schemers she could cancel her contracts within three days. “They’re targeting anybody that looks like they would be vulnerable.”

The scheme has since been shut down by mall authorities, at least at the Cherry Creek Apple Store, but the report claims that Apple employees might have been involved. “9Wants to Know observed an Apple store employee collect Sauer’s information for several contracts…The same Apple employee was seen giving Sauer’s new iPhones directly to the schemers.” The report also notes many of the participants were surprised they were able to purchase, in some cases, several iPhones on contract with bad credit.

Most of the carriers wouldn’t comment on the situation for the report and either would Apple, but a representative from Sprint told 9News that it’s witnessed increased “credit muling” problems since it introduced the iPhone and filed 40 federal lawsuits across the country to crack down on similar schemes.

Police recently arrested people behind a similar scheme at the Park Meadows Apple store in which a mentally disabled man was convinced to sign iPhone contracts.

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About the Author

Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & Electrek.co. He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.