How to say scram to crammed charges on your mobile bill

If you are budget-conscious, you’re probably great at tracking where your money goes every month. You pore over receipts, take advantage of sales, and even research prices on big-ticket items to save the most. So how often do you review your mobile phone bill for fraudulent charges that could be draining your wallet?

As part of ongoing enforcement actions to stop alleged mobile crammers, the FTC recently charged MDK Media, Inc., Tendenci Media, LLC, Mindkontrol Industries, LLC., Anacapa Media, LLC., Bear Communications, LLC., and Network One Commerce, LLC., text message content providers, with cramming unauthorized subscription charges onto consumers’ mobile phone bills for random texts to the tune of up to $9.99 a month. The texts included daily horoscopes, romance advice, quizzes or ring tones that consumers never knowingly asked to receive – or agreed to pay for.

How did the s-crammers do this? The FTC alleges they tricked consumers two ways:

  • by getting people to enter their mobile phone number into deceptive and fictitious websites with fuzzy usage terms in exchange for collecting freebies, playing games or taking quizzes;
  • by purchasing lists of mobile phone numbers and automatically entering the numbers into subscription services without contacting consumers or letting them know.

Here’s how to spot charges crammed on to your mobile bill:

  • Read your monthly phone bill – every page, every month. Regularly review your phone bill to catch charges that are tacked on without your knowledge or consent. Cramming charges can be buried deep within the pages of your bill, making them tough to find or understand. Contact your carrier directly if you have questions about a charge.
  • Strange or unsolicited text messages that suddenly appear on your phone could be signs of a cram. If you suddenly get a text offering any type of daily advice that you never signed up for, consider it a red flag that you’re being charged for something you didn’t authorize.
  • Think twice about entering your mobile phone number or personal information on any website. Certain websites exist to serve as collection baskets for mobile phone numbers; they trick you into providing your number with free offers or access to online entertainment. This can put your money – as well as your privacy or identity – at risk.
  • Delete text messages you don’t want and never click on the links. Text messages that ask you to enter special codes, or to confirm or provide personal information could lead you to spoof sites that look real but could steal your money and identity.
  • Report spam texts to your carrier. Copy the original message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge, if you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint subscriber.
Tagged with: cell phone, mobile, scam, text

Comments

This information about mobile phones is helpful, but it still doesn't say that prepaid minutes in Mobile Phones sometimes just vanish. If the user isn't carefully writing down the time of the beginning and end of each phone call, we just think we should have more minutes but aren't sure. Then the phone company uses those missing minutes to pay third party billings.

So how do we stop places like Yahoo from requiring mobile phone numbers to sign up?

Feel like I am waking from being hit by a stack of bricks

I want to help catch them thief's.

AT LEAST TWICE A WEEK I RECEIVE EMAILS GIVEN ME THE THANKS FOR MY DONATIONS VOTE FOR HILLARY AND THEY TOOK FROM MY ACCOUNT $ 5.00. OTHER EMAILS CAME FROM DEMOCRAT PARTY DEFENDING PRESIDENT OBAMA TO AVOID IMPEACHMENT PROMOTED BY JOHN BOEHNER AND THEY GET FROM MY ACCOUNNT $ 25.00 PLUS $ 1.00 AS TIP AND I CAN' T STOP IT.
I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO. OTHER IS CONSUMER CELLULAR IN OREGON APPARENTLY IN SUPPORT TO AARP IN WASHINGTON DC. OTHER IS MIDLAND MANAGEMENT TELLING I OWE MONEY AND THEY BOTHER ME SOMETIMES TWICE A DAY.

Hello. As a victim of identity theft, you have to think like these dirtbag thieves.

The first thing you need to do is file an immediate 90 day free fraud alert on your credit record and add all household members, which the system allows you you to do. Call any ONE of the big three credit bureas: Experian (888-397-3742), Equifax (800-525-6285) or TransUnion (800-680-7289). You only need to call one as they will automatically share it with the other credit bureaus. Then take the copy of your credit card statement with the fraudulent charges to your local police station. Tell them you want to file a police report and will need a copy to file with the credit bureaus and FTC. You might have to wait a day or two. Then file it with one of the three credit bureaus. Just search one of the bureau's names and file EXTENDED fraud alert. They have a specific address you muse mail it to. Keep copies and dates of everything you mailed in. This should allow you to file a SEVEN YEAR FRAUD ALERT. If you don't take these steps, you can call to ask for a 90 day fraud alert every 90 days, but who is going to remember to do that?!?

Then, call your credit card company where the fraudulent charge was made. I would ask them to cancel that account and issue you another card number IMMEDIATELY! they will often try and reassure you that there are no fraudulent spending patterns and "they'll keep an eye on it and notify you of any suspicious charges." Negative. Think about it. When there are large breaches of security with stores like Target, DSW Shoe Warehouse, TJ Maxx, and countless other retail stores -- if they cancelled the hundreds of thousands of customers credit cards, they're LOSING MONEY! Not canceling the credit card is in THEIR BEST INTEREST, NOT YOURS!!! Many will cancel your credit card and reissue it, and should NOT charge any fee. If they do, ask to speak with a manager and document every person's name, employee number and/or call center location they are working out of, date/time and any other detailed info such as what they told you they'd do. You have to be PRO ACTIVE! Ask them to confirm your request in writing. Sometimes they will do it, often they won't. To protect your rights you should put everything in writing!!! There is a time limit BY LAW (often 30-60 days MAXIMUM). I've been lax in the past and called after the time allowed and if you are a good customer in good standing they will often take care of it, but to be completely safe, work within the limits of the law.

Are you sure nobody else in your household (joint card member) did not give these donations?

I have had fraudulent charges like these places on my two Chase credit cards via online shopping from a state far away from the one I lived in and I NEVER LIST MY CARD!!! And it was more like $400-500. Often times a thief will charge a small amount to see if you are paying attention. If they get away with it, then they might be charging a lot higher amounts soon!

Many times they will "phish" (fish, spelled phish for phishing as in cramming, phishing and spamming). I am very careful what I click on for websites. Never heard of them. Don't sign up! Several scammers will email you a bunch of annoying emails HOPING YOU WILL UNSUBSCRIBE -- DON'T!!! That's what they want because then they have a LIVE, VALID EMAIL ADDRESS and they are going to sell that info! Just delete and don't click on anything in the email.

ONE LAST THING EVERYONE: DON'T GIVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO ANY DOCTOR'S offices, etc as it is NOT required by law! They are used to getting it, but I have not given mine in 20 years, nor will I. Medical identity theft is the #1 growing identity theft in the US!

Be vigilant and take action immediately when you notice anything suspicious. Good luck!

If you are worried about identity theft here are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Find more information about identity theft at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Thank you!

This so called fire department calls me every month begging for me to make a contribution via telephone payment card. It has become a nuisance because i always reject and sometimes it's more than twice a month they ask me. What do i do?...

I get double and triple charged for texts often.
Is this an addressable form of cramming?

mY CELL PHONE IS PREPAID AND NO OTHER FEES DO APPLY AT ALL.

Always keep you data turned off. Helps
And using a free local phone number
Or voice mail..also Helps.
PS: read your phone app agreements.

Are there any pamphlet that can be ordered from the GOV?

You can order free publications from the FTC on many consumer topics such as computer safety, dealing with debt, privacy and identity theft, and many others at ftc.gov/bulkorder.

I got rid of my cell phones entirely after trying both Verizon and AT&T. There were always charges on their bills that were not made by me. I spent hours disputing charges, finally decided they are not worth the time spent trying to resolve billing errors each month.

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