WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — Thieves are utilizing major cell phone providers to pull off a new scam and make a quick buck. The expensive nightmare is happening more and more in our area.
Vladimir Gonzalez was scrolling through Facebook classified ads in Lake Worth when an ad for an iPhone caught his attention. The ad was for a new iPhone that was listed for $600, Gonzalez offered $400 and he says the seller accepted. He says it was the perfect give for his girlfriend, who had just lost her phone.
“Everything worked okay wow it is brand new,” said Gonzalez.
However, after a couple months Gonzalez says the phone stopped working, it wouldn't place calls. So, he says he brought the phone to an AT&T store and spoke with a worker.
“She found out that the phone was recently reported stolen.Why would you report a phone stolen if you selling it to me!” said Gonzalez visibly agitated.
Gonzalez says he tried communicating with the seller, but they blocked him. He went online for help and discovered several people had the same problem. On an AT&T forum, people claim scammers are selling working phones, then reporting them stolen to get another phone through insurance.
The financial times reports mobile phones have become one of the hottest products for insurance fraud.
“That's definitely not right, it's not right for anybody, it’s not right for me, it’s not right for the insurance company, it's not right for anybody,” said Gonzalez.
In most states this category of insurance fraud is a misdemeanor, however, in Florida, it is a third-degree felony according to AT&T. on a new scam that could leave you without a phone and your hard-earned cash.