Is Your Mobile Bill a Cram Sandwich?
People have long complained about unauthorized charges — cramming — on the bills for their landlines. The FTC has responded loudly and clearly, bringing more than 30 cases, getting tens of millions of dollars back for consumers, and advocating for reforms to eliminate landline cramming. But fraudsters, trolling for new opportunities to cheat consumers, have found the bills for people's mobile devices to be fertile territory.
In its first law enforcement action targeting mobile cramming, the FTC charged Wise Media with enrolling customers for text message subscription plans without their consent. The result? Unauthorized charges on their bills for mobile services, which often continued for months on end. Many consumers never realized they were charged, and those who did were often unable to get refunds from Wise Media.
Here's how to spot charges that may have been crammed on to your mobile bill:
- Be aware that phone carriers allow third-parties to place charges on your phone bill. Read through your mobile phone bill every month. Yes, it's easy to go right to the bottom line, but the only way to be sure your bill is correct is to check the itemized list of products and services you are being billed for, one by one. If you don’t recognize or understand any of the items or charges, contact your carrier for an explanation.
- Ask your carrier about services it offers to block third-party charges.
- Be judicious when you are giving out your phone number online. This is often how crammers get access to your information.