Friday, February 1, 2013

“Homeless Cell Phone Fraud” Suspects Arrested

Overland Park Police Detectives have been warning area cell phone retailers about a group traveling across the country recruiting homeless or indigent people to buy cell phones on their behalf. This profitable scam has been evident to us since 2010, with groups from all over the country coming to the Midwest to scam retailers out of new, expensive smart phones.

The suspects would recruit people from homeless shelters, blood banks, and off the street, to get them to sign up for a cell phone contract in order to qualify for a new phone. The enlisted individuals are promised a cash payment between $25.00 - $50.00 on average for their participation in acquiring cellular telephone service. Cellular telephone providers through their promotion would offer a free telephone with the purchase of a telephone with a 2-year service contract. 

In some cases, the service contracts would contain false information which makes it impossible for cellular telephone providers to collect when the contract defaults, or the participant in the fraud has no intentions of fulfilling the 2-year service contract.  Eventually, the contract cancels for nonpayment, leaving the cellular telephone providers with a financial loss for the cellular telephone service and their hardware.

Yesterday, Overland Park Police were called to a local electronics store regarding a group from Michigan in the store attempting to get new phones by utilizing this exact scam. Detectives were called out and four subjects were eventually arrested and transported to the County Jail to await formal charges from the District Attorney’s Office.