Cell Phone Upgrade Scam 

While customers were only indirectly victims, it speaks to the need for constant account monitoring.  

Who Is It Targeting: Cell phone carriers, customers 

What Is It: Spoofing scam involving phone upgrades 

What Are They After: A Boston judge has handed down sentences in a bizarre case of spoofing. A multi-member, multi-state fraud ring has been brought to justice following more than $330,000-worth of theft. The thieves gained access to customer cellphone records and entered physical stores, posing as those customers. They upgraded the victims’ accounts to get newer model phones, which they turned around and sold. 

The customers in this situation weren’t directly the thieves’ victims because they weren’t contacted by the criminals, but that doesn’t make them immune to the damage. They were just the unlucky customers whose accounts were charged for new equipment or whose contracts were extended when the thieves used their information. 

How Can You Avoid It:

  • In this case, far too many customers never noticed the additional charges or the new phones on their accounts.
  • Monitoring your accounts—of every kind—is important for spotting signs of suspicious activity.
  • Whenever possible, place alerts or freezes on your accounts in order to prevent fraudulent activity, and request text or email notifications for any changes to your account. 

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Patch.com.


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.

Read next: “Federal Government Empowerment Money Program” Scam

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