iPhone scammers allegedly use homeless to profit in Apple stores

In a scheme designed to prey on the poor and defenseless, scammers working in a Colorado Apple store persuade them to sign up for phones in exchange for cash. The phones are resold. The contracts, however, belong to the disadvantaged.

Chris Matyszczyk

Are Apple store employees involved? KUSA screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It all seems so blatant.

In footage, all shot on an iPhone, we see what are said to be homeless people or the very poor walking into Apple stores and buying iPhones.

For this, they are allegedly rewarded in cash.

The phones, as KUSA in Denver reports, are sent overseas, where, unlocked, they fetch far more money.

Those who signed the contracts, however, are stuck with them.

If they cannot pay, their credit score suffers. Perhaps that's not the worst thing if, as one interviewee says, he lives in a park.

Each of those interviewed said they simply needed cash. They didn't think through, or perhaps care about, the consequences.

The footage was shot at the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver and the suggestion is that an Apple store employee was involved in the scheme.

Moreover, Apple store staff reportedly removed the KUSA journalist, rather than addressing any possibility of nefarious behavior.

I have contacted Apple to see if the company has any comment about such apparent scams happening within its doors and will update, should I hear back.

KUSA says that despite being confronted with evidence, the Apple store did nothing. It was the mall that finally contacted police, and the alleged scammers haven't returned.

You can imagine, though, that such an enterprise might be a repeating feature.