This sneaky fraud could be costing you
The art of adding unapproved, deceptive or misleading services to your phone bill is commonly known as cramming. Historically these charges could be seen within your traditional telephone bill. With the shift from traditional land-lines to cell phones, a new form of cramming is making its presence felt. Here are some suggestions to help keep you from becoming a victim of this practice:
Check your bill. Check your cell-phone bill every month and identify all items on your bill. Call your provider to get an explanation for anything that appears unclear. Look for key words that may be masking the unapproved charges. Words like:
- Minimum charge
- Service fee
- Other fees
- Connection fees
- Or any non-phone related terms like internet or web
Question changes. Your phone bill should be predictable. If you see the bill increase from one month to the next, consider it a warning sign. While the change may not be fraudulent billing, the review could point to a need to change your phone agreement or phone habits.
Know the culprits. Companies that are commonly adding a monthly charge to cell phones include; gaming companies, sports applications, online entertainment, security services, credit monitoring, wi-fi connection services, and financial services.
Guard your phone number distribution. To access your cell phone bill the thieves need your phone number. If you start receiving a number of unwanted calls, it can be a clue that your billing might be compromised in the future.
The problem of cramming has found a new home on cell phone bills in part because many users no longer see a paper statement and are set up for automatic bill payment. If either of these applies to you, it makes a monthly review of your billing statement that much more important.
If you think you have been a victim of cramming visit the Federal Communications Commission, www.fcc.gov, to learn more and to register a complaint.