Check Your Phone Bill Day

OK, it’s not really Check Your Phone Bill Day. But how about checking your wireless phone bill anyway? Pull it up online, dig out your paper copy, or if you don’t get a detailed bill from your phone company, go ahead and ask for one (we’ll wait).

Ready? Now take a close look. You’re looking for unfamiliar charges. You might see Min. Use Fee, Activation, Member Fee, Voice Mail, or Web Hosting. Or you might see area codes you’ve never heard of or ringtones from a company you don’t know. The Federal Communications Commission website has a sample phone bill that might help.

Find anything? If so, you may have been crammed. Many people don’t realize it, but outside companies can add charges to your phone bill for their services. When a company charges you this way without your permission, it’s called cramming — and it’s illegal.

In fact, today the FTC announced that Jesta Digital — which you might know as Jamster — has agreed to settle charges that it allegedly “crammed” charges onto people’s mobile phone bills — supposedly for ringtones and other mobile content — after people playing the Angry Birds mobile app on their Android device clicked through a Jesta ad claiming to have detected a virus on the device (it hadn’t). 

warning image that says virus detected and includes a remove button

If you were billed for services from Jamster you didn’t agree to, or if someone in your family under 18 agreed to the charges, you may be eligible for a refund. To apply for a refund, call Jamster toll-free at 866-856-5267 or e-mail info@jamster.com. If you have questions about the case, call the FTC at 202-326-3523.

But back to your phone bill: you’ve found something. So what can you do about it?

  1. Ask your phone company about it

If the charge isn’t from your phone company, the name of the company charging you should be printed nearby. Your phone company should be able to tell you more about the charge.

  1. Dispute it

Your statement should tell you how to dispute errors on your bill.

  1. Follow-up with an email or letter sent by certified mail, and ask for a return receipt

It’s your proof that the company received your letter. Keep a copy of your bill and any other documentation for your files.

  1. File a complaint

Even if you get a refund, if you suspect you’ve been a victim of cramming, file a complaint with the FTC, your state Attorney General’s office, or the state agency that regulates phone service in your state — often the state public service commission or public utilities commission, which you can look up on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners website.

  1. Consider whether a block is right for you

A number of phone companies offer to block third-party charges. Visit your phone company’s website for details about what kind of blocking it offers. If your phone company blocks all third party charges, you won’t be able to sign up for legitimate third party services that interest you. Give some thought to whether a block is right for you, and if it is, contact your phone company and ask for it.

For more, read Mystery Charges on Your Phone Bill.

Tagged with: cell phone, malware, mobile
Blog Topic: Avoid Scams

Comments

Yes I havebeen here. I check my bill with Tmobile and every month I have to fight them. Can I get out y contract??

Phone company affiliates have been "slamming" phone bills for years- you really have to monitor your accounts for accuracy-

I have had my bank account hacked 2 times! How or what do I do to prevent that. The firswst time the refunded it.( 2nd time it was over 30 days before I caught it. So sorry, can not help you!!

You might find our information on identity theft at ftc.gov/idtheft helpful for figuring out what steps to take next.

wat can i do when about checking your wireless phone bill anyway? Pull it up online, dig out your paper copy, or if you don’t get a detailed bill from phone company?

First thing is don't borrow any more money from pay day lenerds. I know their industry very well and there is only one thing you can do and that is talk to them. Lenders including pay day lenerds are bound by both state credit codes and the uniform credit code this means that they must follow strict guidelines on how they do business and collect money(this falls under govt acts) so don't assume that they are not answerable to anyone. In NSW there is actually a cap on the amount of interest they can charge you per annum. If you were in this situation when they lent to you then they shouldn't have (unless you weren't completely truthful on your application). Sometimes we are victims of circumstance and can get into trouble as you are (you are not alone). They can ask you for money but cannot make unreasonable demands or discuss your debt with anyone other than yourself. They also cannot refuse a payment you attempt to make even if it is not the amount they had hoped for.Make a repayment plan that is very small (so you are making an effort to pay) and explain that you first need to organise accomodation and maybe employment (you didn't say if you had a job or not). If you feel you are being harassed by them contact the dept of fair trading as there are definate rules as to when you can be contacted , how, and how often they may approach you for funds. DO NOT let yourself be bullied but DO be honest , reliable and don't committ to a repayment plan that you know you cannot afford as thay are not allowed to force you to accept an unaffordable agreement. If they are trying to direct debit the funds from your account and you have no money you DO have the right to advise them in writing to stop as the funds aren't available (this will stop your bank account going into debit and causing unecessary fees). If they do not stop take a copy of your letter to your bank and advise them you have requested the lender in wirting not to debit your account. Your bank will then make this stop. Stay in contact with the lender and if you make regular repayments (even if it is a small amount) you will prove that your situation is genuine and your are making every attempt to rectify the situation. In these circumstances you can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but trust me there is. The more you hide from them the harder it will be to solve. Beware of people offering you quick fixes as they will fix quick but leave a bitter taste in your mouth for years to come. It's not worth it. You are better off trying to pay the money back than trying to avoid them.

I am curious about this information and need more information regarding keeping all my children's social security information safe from fraud. I have been around a lot of quesitonable people while i was working to get my children safely back home and now that they are home safe I would like to make sure their money and social security numbers are too!

You might be interested in our article on child identity theft.

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.