Scam of the day – October 19, 2014 – AT&T to pay $105 million for cramming

Cramming is the name for putting unauthorized third party charges on to a consumer’s telephone bill without the knowledge or approval of the consumer.  This has long been a problem with landline phones and recently has become a major problem with cellular service.  There are many ways that these unauthorized charges make their way to a victim’s phone, sometimes, consumers actually unknowingly sign up for premium texting services that may be for things such as flirting tips, horoscopes or celebrity gossip.  Whatever the source of the charges, they are fraudulent and typically cost about $9.99 per month and continue to appear for months without end.  Recently AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle cramming charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission. Of that total, $80 million will be refunded to affected customers by the FTC.  It is expected that other phone providers will be faced with similar charges although AT&T is the first to reach a national settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, AT&T is required to notify all affected customers of the settlement and that refunds are available.

TIPS

If you believe you were a victim of cramming on your AT&T bill, you have until May 1, 2015 file a claim on the FTC’s website at https://www.ftcsettlementatt.com/en/Claim

Even if you are not an AT&T customer you should carefully review your phone bill each month to make sure that there are no unauthorized charges.

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