The Federal Trade Commission has issued an alert for consumers to not fall victim to "credit muling."
According to the FTC, credit muling is a new way to trick people in search of a quick buck by paying them to open wireless contracts that include new smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
The person targeted, the mule, buys the phones with money they received from the "recruiter" and is told to cancel the contract within 15 and 30 days. The mule then gives the phone back to the recruiter.
The recruiter, using software code, unlocks the phone before the mule can cancel, and then sells the phone for profit.
An unlocked phone can be used by any service provider.
The FCC report says unlocked phones are worth hundreds of dollars in the U.S. and thousands overseas.
This leaves the mule - the victim - without a phone but with the responsibility to pay the fees for the length of the contract.