FTC Seeks Your Input for Mobile Cramming Roundtable May 8th

On May 8th, FTC staff are conducting a mobile cramming roundtable among consumer advocates, industry leaders and government regulators. The roundtable is part of an ongoing effort by the FTC to address how to protect consumers against the growing problem of mobile cramming.

The FTC invites the public to submit original research, panelist participation requests, and recommendations for topics of discussion. General comments are also encouraged in response to the following questions:

  • What is the process for placing a third-party charge on a mobile phone bill? What types of companies are involved?
  • Does the ability to place third-party charges on a mobile phone bill have beneficial uses? How is this process used for charitable donations? Do unbanked or underbanked populations pay for products or services through their mobile phone bills? 
  • What current protections exist to protect consumers from mobile cramming? Are these protections effective? How can they be improved?
  • What parties are best equipped to prevent mobile cramming? What additional strategies would be most effective in preventing and/or remedying mobile cramming? 
  • What steps should government and industry members take to protect consumers from mobile cramming?

Stay tuned to this blog for more information.

Tagged with: cell phone, phone

Comments

Hello,

This practice has been occurring for many years now-even before mobile devices became such an invaluable extension of who we are and the value society bestows on us based on material possessions. 'What steps should government and industry members take to protect consumers from mobile cramming?' Many industry telecom companies have the existing technology in place to curb this behavior with the use of pin codes, and consumers are well aware and use to having pin codes as part of many of their transactions-not to mention familiarity with text or instant messaging. If the industry plays were to either in real-time (depending on the despicable party's billing practices) were to send a message to the consumer as part of a multi-factor security confirmation process in that the offending party must receive a verbal or textual code using the intermediary being the industry player for instance, and upon an digital handshake similar to the TCPIP stack operates, the offending party would receive a confirmation code, and the receiving party/consumer would be sent a message code similar code-both of which are encrypted with the intermediary resolving the encryption to approve and process the transaction. This is nothing new, and as I said can be implemented with minimum overhead, resource allocation, or discomfort for all legitimate parties involved in the twist. PhePhiPhoPhum Inc is a good choice for additional consulting, and ask for Bingo.

'Does the ability to place 3rd party charges on a mobile bill have beneficial uses? Yes, without a doubt. Similar to the transition from analog to digital cable and the resulting positive impact on multiple industries ranging from tv/set top box manufactures, retailers, all the way down to recycling companies taking the old equipment-working or not, and turning it into reusable components that enter the marketplace again continuing the snowball effect of the benefits of progress.

How is this process used for charitable donations? Any person who has chosen to extend a heartfelt and warm act of charitable donations knows that most are for a good cause. To that end; spoken or unspoken, the coordinators of such efforts depend not only on the kinship a donor makes with the cause, but also depend on that person(s) being impressionable to the point of being an impulse buyer. As such, when calamities occur in the world, the charity brigade comes out in full force, and mobile devices have allowed them to keep up with the times. In yesteryear, the typical bell ringer had to contend with a possible donor's willingness to give, and having immediate access to disposable income. Now, the bell rings to the sound of a credit card swipe machine while other charities allow text messaging to initiate a donation transaction. If it werent for these new methods being deployed, the charity, and eventually the end recipient of the good tithings would not fair so well.

Do unbanked or underbanked populations pay for products or services through their mobile phone bills. While there is a movement towards more streamlined mobile commerce, there will always be a place in the market for providers and consumers of phone bill tagging of 3rd party charges for goods or services. Whether the end consumer is a young or old person, just recovering from a bad situation or on a fixed income, these consumers need to have access to technologies that allow them to efficiently process their wants and needs like the more affluent consumers.

I was crammed by company known as "Jawa Inc." out of Scottsdale Arizona, they bilked me out of $850.00 since my phone bill was automatically paid thru Sprint. Sprint took zero responsibility, even though they allowed the billing to go through every month for a service I didn't ask for. Apparently the own of Jawa Inc., a Mr. Jason Hope, lives a lavish lifestyle, filled with extravagant playboy parties, a vast collection of Ferrari's and lives in the single largest estate in Scottsdale AZ worth many, many millions of dollars, all paid in ca$h. And then there's little old me, who contributed to the owner's empire by inadvertently paying $9.99 per month, all because of a random text message which I IGNORED, because I treated it like SPAM, which it was. Apparently, my phone number was data-scraped from Craigslist by one of Jawa's phone number harvesting bots when I placed a Wanted Ad looking for piano lessons in my area. The piano lessons cost me $100.00, the financial disaster caused by Jawa Inc. cost me $850.00. I didn't know I was supposed to text-back the words "STOP" in order to prevent my phone number from being automatically added to Jawa's scam in which I was billed $9.99 per month for nearly 26 months before I realized "Jawa Inc." is NOT a part of Sprint or some add-on for Internet speed boost or something, but an independent entity set up to do exactly what was done to me: SCAM PEOPLE'S INCOME (after taxes mind you!) It amazes me how these fraudulent criminal syndicates can operate their "cramming" operations so openly, yet destroy the lives of so many Americans already hemorrhaging funds and living pay-check-to-paycheck in order to survive (if they even have a job). Is it really any wonder why America's economy is down the tube? Needless to say, I immediately terminated my contract with Sprint because they are admittedly complacent with Jawa Inc (earning a monthly backside commission to 'turn a blind eye' to Jawa Inc.'s and other criminal crammers) switching to T-Mobile. Thankfully I haven't had any issues with the scammers cramming my phone bill since I left Sprint 2 years ago, and I plan on keeping it that way, knock on wood.

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