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This might be a shock to you, but there can be charges on your cell phone bill that you never authorized. The other day I was going through our bill and I discovered that there were charges for $9.99 from two different companies that I have never heard of before.  T-mobile had them listed at premium services and I knew that these were not something we signed up for. I called T-mobile and told them that we did not authorize the charges and they ended up reversing the charges.

How did I catch it?

Typically our cell phone bill is the same every month. With exception to a couple of times that we have gone over our minutes. These occurrences are rare though, so it makes it easy to notice when a bill is $20 higher than normal.

How did it happen?

My wife started receiving text messages from an unknown sender and when she opened it there was some lame tip that was obviously from some sort of company. Somehow by opening the text message she authorized them to charge us $9.99 per month. Isn’t that ridiculous? I didn’t even understand how this is possible. I did some research and found out that we were not the only ones this happened to.

What is it called?

It is a telephone billing scam known as “Cramming”. According to the FCC over 20 million people are crammed every year. Companies will say that you authorized a particular service and your cell phone provider will bill you.

Apparently this is a BILLION dollar industry

According to this article, cell phone companies have billed over $1 Billion in the past decade for 3rd party charges. There has been several law-suits where cell phone companies shelled out millions due to cell phone cramming. If you have been crammed and are having a diffulty getting the issue resolved, you should contact the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-CALL-FCC or the Federal Trade Commission who also handles consumer complaints.

Take Away

1. Don’t open text messages from unknown senders unless you want to hassle with the potential charges you could face.

2. Check your bill to make sure you haven’t been charged for services you did not authorize.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, what happened?