9Wants to Know has learned men cruise around homeless shelters, the 16th Street Mall, and plasma donation clinics in an effort to find people desperate for money. 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.
The iPhones can be unlocked and sold on the international market for more than $700 dollars each. Victims tell 9Wants to Know they were told by organizers they can just cancel contracts at any time to avoid paying monthly fees and penalties.
One example is a 19-year-old woman named Phoenix. "I thought it was amazing money. I had rent due the next day and I was looking to pay it," said Phoenix. "I was very desperate. I'm in the hole about $6,000."
One of the men behind the scheme was identified as Benji Kermani of Beverly Hills. He owns a company called DEAL2BEAT that sells 'unlocked' iPhones in foreign countries.
9News attempted to contact Apple sending emails and leaving voicemails for the public relations department. Eventually a spokesperson returned a call to say Apple doesn't comment on "matters of security".
In this particular case, the scam was ended by the Cherry Creek Shopping Center who determined that unauthorized business was being conducted in the mall area after security observed cash transactions outside the Apple Store. Eventually, the men were told they were trespassing.
"….one of the organizers returned at which time we had to get the police involved, and since that happened, they have not returned," said Cherry Creek general manager Nick LeMasters.
Take a look at the video below for more details...