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How to Beat a Mobile Cramming Scam

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Have you checked your mobile phone bill lately? See any charges for random text messages you get? Not reading your statement with an eye out for fraudulent charges crammed onto your bill can be a costly mistake.    

A recent case settled by the FTC claimed that Tatto Inc., a company that creates and sends celebrity gossip, trivia, and horoscope text messages to phones, crammed a $9.99 monthly “Premium Text Messaging Services” subscription charge onto people’s phone bills without their knowledge or consent. Although many people ignored the text messages as spam, the charge still was on their bill. Worse yet, when they detected the charges and reported them to their phone carrier, or directly to Tatto, Inc., many customers couldn’t get adequate refunds for the months of fraudulent charges they hadn’t noticed. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to detect and avoid cramming charges on your mobile bill:

  • Check your phone bill each month. It’s easy to ignore a billing statement after you’ve set up automated online payments. But taking time to read your statement online or the bill in the mail will help you detect fraudulent charges, and save you money.
  • Treat websites that ask for your mobile phone number with caution. Phony websites advertising free prizes (think Justin Bieber tickets) in exchange for your mobile phone number, or other personal information, could be setting you up for a cram.
  • Consider a block on third-party charges. Many phone carriers offer third-party blocking service for free.
  • Know your mobile phone carrier’s policy on refunds for fraudulent charges. Some carriers have a 60-day period for refund requests. Even if you’ve detected a years’ worth of fraudulent charges, the phone carrier may offer to refund only a part of it.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of cramming, contact your phone carrier first about the charges, and file a complaint with the FTC.


Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


valuble advice..please give me further instructions

Settled, or just filed?

It is frightening...the number of sleazy ways manipulators of technology have devised to steal from unsuspecting service users. I long for the days when a user dial their home home, got connected, and that ended the charge. Technology is wonderful! For thieves, liars, lazy good-for-nothing crooks. Burn all the bastards at the stake...sounds about right to me!

760-529-5172 this number keeps calling about credit never heard of them its either phlishing
or a scam please check - thank you

Great information to know.

Thanks so much for researching and providing
such a great resource!

check your cell phone and landline carriers to be certain you do not have call forwarding enabled. And be sure there isn't a different number than your own enabled if you must have call forwarding. Our home phone and 2 mobile #s were forwarded to a burner cell phone so that when banks and credit card carriers called to verify loans and credit card applications...the calls were forwarded to another number.

FTC says "Consider a block on third-party charges. Many phone carriers offer third-party blocking service for free.". Please link to the cell carriers that do this, and their web pages for this opt-out. Thank you.

The FTC does not generally link to commercial websites. If you'd like to block third party charges, it's best to contact your wireless provider and ask. You also may be able to turn this feature on by logging into your online account.

I have been receiving robo-calls for over two years and I reported them to the Do Not Call Registry but nothing happens. HERE ARE THE NUMBERS: 620-504-7452, 216-400-8002, 334-283-7084, 918-866-7810, 609-279-0220, 850-237-4859, 909-481-5406, 802-230-6357, 617-390-4562, 661-748-0240, 605-221-2284, 424-241-1697, 385-212-1900, 731-498-4058, 866-274-2538

My question is: What if you answered the call when it came in and someone on the other end kept saying "hello hello" What then? Does it charge your account if you answer it?

You don't mention whether the call from them to the US is a toll call, are they being charged for making the initial call? If not, thats the problem!

Several scam calls a day to my area code so it looks like someone I would answer. Looked up the number. Along with dozens/hundreds of numbers belonging to a Multimedia telemarketing Co, I discovered it was a subsidiary Co of Verizon. Too much money involved for anyone to do anything about being harrassed on a daily basis with these calls?

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