The 99 cent needs to be charged against your credit card which is an extra hurdle for criminals to take before they can use a stolen identity to purchase the phone.
Identity theft is not only used in the illegal purchasing of phones, it is seen as one of the fastest growing forms of criminality. The Wikipedia description of identity fraud is the following:
Identity theft is a form of stealing another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. The victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if he or she is held accountable for the perpetrator's actions. Organizations and individuals who are duped or defrauded by the identity thief can also suffer adverse consequences and losses, and to that extent are also victims.