Since AT&T increased the price of the iPhone 3GS from a bargainous FREE to the perplexing $0.99, we’ve all been asking the same question: Why? When Apple announced the iPhone 4S, they made a point of repricing the iPhone 3GS as a free option.

Why would AT&T take the unusual step or increasing the price of a handset that Apple itself had declared would be free, and increase it by just a dollar? Strange indeed.

The move was perhaps not as strange as we originally thought. One forum member claiming to work for AT&T believes they may have the answer, and it’s all about stopping fraudsters from stealing handsets…

According to MacRumors forum poster “Metcury46l,” AT&T has been suffering from a spot of fraud thanks to the nature of a free iPhone. With no upfront fee to be paid, fraudsters are able to steal a customer’s identity and effectively walk out of a store with a free iPhone 3GS. Requiring a fee, even a token (such as $0.99), means that a credit or debit card must be used, complete with a billing address.

“I work at AT&T, this is being done to help prevent fraud as the 99 cents cannot be billed to your bill. It must be charged to a credit or bank issued debt card. Fraudsters are using stolen identities to steal these handsets … been an issue since they went free.”

Makes sense to us! Those pesky scheisters ruining it for the rest of us once again!

Mystery solved, folks. Move along, now.

  • So what happens to those customers who want to pay with a dollar and don’t own a debit or credit card? Or did I miss something?

    • I think it would be pretty hard to open an att&t account without a credit or debit card right?

  • This is total bs as you have to show an identification card so unless the thief looks strikingly similar or went to the DMV to get fake ids just to get a free iPhone ? This story doesn’t hold water especially since I have paid cash for all my AT&T phones no credit card needed. Dont mean to be a spoiler but I just think a Lil Effort should go into research for an article thats all.

    • Anonymous

      He said: Mystery solved folks. Move along, now.

    • Anonymous

      He said: Mystery solved folks. Move along, now.

    • Anonymous

      That isn’t fake we do the thing at Radio Shack in NYC

  • Mistery not solved. Just more questions than answers. Not that i would care about this crap.

  • Anonymous

    That makes no sense. Because you could still pay cash or just have it billed to the account. Let’s not forget you still had to sign for a two year contract and probably were being charged an $18 upgrade fee.

    I think its to make money. 99¢ a few hundred thousand times does add up.

  • Its the bc the refurbished iPhone 3GS are free and the new are 99 cents