Scam of the day – December 25, 2014 – Cramming update

For years I have been warning you about the dangers of 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.  In October AT&T agreed to pay $105 million to settle cramming charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission. Now the FTC has settled cramming charges with T-Mobile under the terms of which T-Mobile will return at least ninety million dollars to affected customers.  According to the term of the settlement, T-Mobile must contact all of its present and former customers who were subjected to cramming and inform them of the refund program and claims process.  The FTC has also now just brought a similar cramming complaint against Sprint seeking $105 billion.  I will follow the progress of that legal action and report to you as new developments occur.  Verizon is the only major carrier that has not had action taken against it by the FTC on cramming charges.

TIPS

If you were or are a T-Mobile customer, you should carefully review your phone bill to identify if cramming charges appear anywhere on your bill and follow the procedure indicated by T-Mobile to make a claim.  Even if you are not a T-Mobile customer you should carefully review your phone bill each month to make sure that there are no unauthorized charges.