Criminal Networks Using Fake Info to Buy Smartphones

Amid a thriving and highly profitable black market overseas for smartphones, more criminals are turning to fraud and identity theft to obtain discounted devices in bulk, according to law-enforcement officials. Authorities say the kill switch, which remotely deactivates stolen phones, has made street-level smartphone theft less lucrative. But joint investigations by state and federal authorities in Minnesota, Michigan and Georgia have uncovered vast networks of criminals who use stolen information, fake credit cards and dummy corporations, among other means, to obtain discounted phones in bulk from U.S. carriers.