March 30, 2024

It’s easy to just pay your bills and move on, especially if you have automatic payments turned on.

Paying bills this way means that, chances are, you might never actually open them — which means you may not even know what you’re paying for.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is issuing an alert about “cramming,” a scam that is attached to your phone bill. Cramming is illegal and is happening all over the country.

What is ‘cramming?’

Cramming is when scammers try to “cram” bills with unauthorized service charges.

“Cramming is something that often goes unnoticed by the general public, until they start asking questions and then find out all these are additional things that I didn’t originally agree to or that I didn’t realize that I was agreeing to,” said Laura Blankenship of the BBB.

These are unauthorized third-party charges that are added to your bill. They can have generic names like “service fee,” “voicemail” or “other fees,” and they are small charges of only a dollar a two, hoping they will go unnoticed.

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“Cramming is illegal, so if you do happen to find that this is happening on one of your bills, you do need to report it to the FTC, because they have been given millions of dollars in refunds to people who lost money to cramming,” Blankenship said.

What you can do

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just issued $5 million in refunds to people who lost money to cramming schemes last month. Read more about the settlement here.

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