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Scammers using phony letters at Mayfair to open cell-phone accounts

Feb. 1, 2011

A group pretending to represent area schools and businesses is running a scam to steal cell phones and cash in on rebates.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

Sales staff at the Verizon kiosk at Mayfair Maill got suspicious after four different people tried to buy cell phones for workplaces and schools between Jan. 3 and 11. Each one had an official looking letter that contained a taxpayer identification number. They claimed to work for Milwaukee School of Engineering, University School of Milwaukee, Marine First Credit Union and ARC Milwaukee.

An internal investigation showed the customers had no ties to those organizations.

They opened accounts for 27 phones valued at $13,137. Verizon was offering a promotion of free phones and $100 rebate per account. Rebate claims were starting to come in when the cell phone company reported the scam Jan. 28.

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