- AARP - http://blog.aarp.org -
Don’t Become a Credit ‘Mule’
Posted By Eileen Ambrose On June 11, 2014 @ 4:08 pm In Bulletin Today,Money & Savings | No Comments
Cash-desperate consumers are being lured into becoming unwitting “credit mules” via a cellphone scam, the Federal Trade Commission  warns.
Con artists pay targets a couple hundred dollars to sign up for wireless contracts for iPhones and other mobile devices, the FTC says. The consumers then turn over the smartphones to the scammers, who “unlock” the phones so they can be used by others. The phones then are often sold overseas, where they can fetch from $500 to $1,000 apiece, says Nat Wood, an assistant director in the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection.
Scammers tell victims they will be able to cancel the contracts later, the FTC says. However, when they try to do so, they can’t because they no longer have the phones to return. The victims now owe money for the phone and the monthly service fees. Their money troubles increase and their credit record  is damaged.
These victims are called credit mules because their identities and credit are used by others to acquire phones.
A Denver television station reported on alleged credit muling at a local mall there. In that broadcast, a Sprint attorney said his company has filed about 40 lawsuits around the country involving credit muling.
The FTC’s Wood says victims tend to be the homeless, college students and others in need of fast cash.
It’s unclear how widespread the problem is, although the FTC is asking people to contact the agency  if they have been a victim or have been approached by someone to buy cellphones this way.
Photo: Modernschism/iStock 
Also of Interest
See the AARP home page  for deals, savings tips, trivia and more
Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org
URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/06/11/dont-become-a-credit-mule/
URLs in this post:
 Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov
 Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/iStock_000004663450Small.jpg
 >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/people/subscribeFromEmail.action?id=29636&intcmp=ILC-EMAIL-SUB-MONY
 credit record: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/21/is-medical-debt-highly-unhealthy-for-your-credit-score/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL
 television station reported : http://www.9news.com/story/news/investigations/2014/04/24/9wtk-iphone-scheme/8093499/
 >> Get travel discounts with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/travel/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TRV-DISC
 contact the agency: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1
 Modernschism/iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=1388305
 Retiring Early? Pony Up $51,000 Extra for Health Care: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/06/12/retiring-early-pony-up-51000-extra-for-health-care-fidelity-says/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL
 6 Places Never to Use a Debit Card: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/23/6-places-to-never-use-a-debit-card/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS
 Fight fraud and ID theft with the AARP Fraud Watch Network.: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN
 Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM
 AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP
Copyright © 2013 AARP. All rights reserved.