EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWS"CRAMMING" SCAM
from Eyewitness News Online
Customers Investigate Telephone Bill Containing Alleged Fake Charge
Reported by: Kennie Bass
Videographer: Matt Durrett
Web Producer: Kennie Bass
Reported: Jan. 9, 2013 4:36 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 9, 2013 5:05 PM EST
Ripley , Jackson County , West Virginia
When Janet Strohl examined her latest Frontier Communications phone bill, she discovered a charge she didn't recognize.
"Going through the bill getting ready to pay it and I checked it out," Strohl said. "There was a charge on here for $39.95 to I.L.D., which is I.L.D. Teleservices charges. I didn't have any idea what that was. Reading the small print it says it was billed on behalf of Total Secure Now, which I didn't know what that was either.”
Strohl told Eyewitness News that she had never had any dealings with a company called Total Secure Now.
Consumer advocates said the practice of third parties adding false charges to your phone bill is called "cramming." They said it's a very common way for scammers to get into your wallet.
"In fact, this charge is a little higher than what we typically see," said Doug Davis of the Consumer Protection Division of the West Virginia Attorney General's Office. "We call this type of scam, we call it cramming your bill full of extra charges and extra services that you didn't want and that you never even signed up for."
The Strohls said they have contacted the biller and the company where the charge originated. Total Secure Now is a computer software and technical support firm. The Strohls have been told they will be refunded nearly $80, but they are concerned others may be falling victim to similar scams.
"I look at my bills pretty closely," Strohl said. "If you don't look at them closely then you don't know what you're paying for."
Strohl believes in this case, it’s a scam.
If you believe there is a problem with your bill, you can contact your provider, the West Virginia Attorney General's Office or the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
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