“Cramming” or placing bogus or unauthorized fees on your phone bill is worrisome to everyone—whether you’re a common man or a federal regulator. However, the new measures introduced by the government have been put into place for landlines, though dwindling in number, and do not extend to mobile phones. This only means the danger is dark and looming large. It also means that users of mobile phones have to be extra vigilant when they get their phone bills.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, about 20 million American households are victims of cramming each year. When terms like “calling plan”, “membership”, “voicemail” or “service charge,” are tacked on to their bills, users smell a rat and start asking questions.
How cramming works: For about two decades or more, the government of the USA allowed third-party providers of telecom services to levy charges on to users phone bills. Though initially such charges were legitimate, such as web hosting, charges for using AOL, Dish Network or voice mail, etc, soon, crammers found an opportunity in this to levy charges that are not due to be paid by users or that they did not use or ask for. Users began doubting whether the charges were true or not when the amounts were too large to ignore or the service was too unlike them to have ever made.
This set off a nationwide campaign against “cramming” and the government was forced to set in measures to stop this ugly practice. Users, however, can prevent it from happening in these ways:
Block all third-party charges: Your telecom provider will prove ineffectual at stopping any charges being levied to you unduly, so you need to step in and do the needful. To stop all third-party charges being levied to you, tell your telecom providers to block all third-party charges to your phone.
Examine your monthly bills: You need to look at your bills very closely each month to see if you’re a victim of cramming or not. Look for unauthorized fees with strange names and codes.
Demand a refund: The moment you find a bogus fee being levied on your bill, ring up the carrier and demand a refund instantly.
Use a credit card for all payments: Just because your smart phone comes with the facility of paying and putting the cost on your phone bill, don’t go in for it. Instead, use a credit card since it comes with several protection measures including getting fraudulent charges reversed to you.
Don’t let online contests or auctions know your cell number: All a crammer needs is to know your phone number so that he can continue to levy all fake charges on to it. So, guard your number like nothing else on earth or you’ll have to pay in exchange for a freebie or for signing up an online subscription form.
So, be careful in all the above ways and keep unauthorized charges on your phone bill at bay.