By Christine Alexis
Scammers will stop at nothing to find ways to get your money. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns about the latest. This targets college students or recent grads like me looking for ways to make money fast.
Here’s how it works. The scammers approach people and ask you to act as a “credit mule.”
They use your personal information to open wireless contracts with different carriers for mobile devices. The point is to take advantage of promotional offers for smartphones and tablets and get these devices at relatively cheap prices.
Then, the scammer takes the phones or tablet, unlocks it and sells the device on the street and makes a profit.
The scammers make it really appealing and easy for you to do. They pay you cash upfront and tell you to cancel the contract within 15 to 30 days. But here’s where it gets tricky and financially dangerous for you.
The FTC says when people who did this tried to cancel the contracts, they realized it was going to cost them and they couldn’t cancel the contract easily. Wireless carriers require you to return a phone, or device, to cancel a contact. And it gets worse! You’re not only responsible to pay them back for the device but are also stuck with the monthly service fee for the length of the contract YOU opened. Those contracts are generally for two years.
And one of the most outrageous things about this is that these scammers, or “recruiters” as they call themselves, tell you that this scheme can help you boost credit rating. In fact, if you don’t pay the fees for the contract that you sign up for, you will lower your credit score.
College students need to pay attention and protect themselves from schemes like this. Have you been approached by scammers promising you cash and better credit? Got any tips to spot a fake? Share your story with us. Comment below and let us know!