Take a close look at your cell phone bill, line by line. If you see charges that don’t make sense, such as “web hosting” or “member fee,” chances are, you’ve been crammed.
Cramming is the illegal practice of placing unauthorized charges on customer’s phone bills. The rip-off started in the 1990s with land-line bills, and now it’s a growing problem with cellphone bills. Consumer Reports estimated that landline and mobile cramming could be costing American consumers as much as $2 billion a year
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“Cramming” occurs when unauthorized charges appear on your telephone bill. AT&T recommends the following to help prevent cramming or other unwanted charges on your bills:
Avoid placing calls to 900 numbers. The FTC says consumers should consider a 900 number block; it stops calls from going through to 900 number services.
Avoid accepting collect calls, signing up for sweepstakes or contests online or generally entering your contact information in places like unsecured websites and solicitations made over the phone. These sometimes have fine print that note by providing your information, you’re signing up for additional services.
Discuss all charges with other members of your household. Sometimes confusion can arise over charges that show up on a customer’s bill because household members forget to discuss services that were ordered.
Always read the fine print and know what you’re signing up for. In some cases, customers simply may not have understood a transaction when it took place. Pay close attention to service offers, contests or other scenarios where you may be giving away your information and signing up for services you don’t want.
If you suspect cramming, file a complaint with the FTC online at ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357.