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Scam Alert

Phone bill cramming
Looked at your phone bill lately? You may be the victim of phone bill cramming. An extra $30 to $80 are appearing on some phone bills -- supposedly charges for Web sites, voice mail, 900 calls or other "enhanced" services that the customer never agreed to pay for. Customers who call their phone company to complain may be told that a third-party-billing company -- not the phone company -- is responsible for the charges.

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It is legal for third-party companies to bill certain services through your phone bill but problems occur because phone companies have no reason to verify the charges before billing you. This leaves phone bills wide-open to unscrupulous companies that cram charges into your phone bill, hoping you won't notice.

The Federal Trade Commission reached a settlement for the victims of a similar phone bill cramming scam in 2001.

To protect yourself from phone bill cramming, call your local phone company and ask to have third-party billing shut off. If you are a victim, save all your paperwork, refuse to pay for the charges and contact the billing company immediately -- both in writing and by phone -- and refute the charges.

Read about more scams.

 
-- Posted: Oct. 10, 2003
   

 

 
 
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