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Beware of Phone Bill Cramming

Hundreds of phone customers have complained about being "crammed," which is when you are charged for services you never ordered.

As you might imagine, you can lose a lot of money if you don’t keep a close eye on your phone bill.

Operators at the State Public Service Commission’s Call Center are getting complaint after complaint about cramming. Here’s one from a Lakeland woman. She was charged $15.40 on her Verizon bill for an Email discount network setup fee she never authorized. PSC Spokesman Todd Brown says a lot of people are getting ripped off.

The Public Service Commission has taken more than a hundred cramming complaints from all over the state over the past year and a half, and the PSC thinks that’s only a tiny fraction of the number of victims out there. A Google search of one of the third-party billing companies, Integretel, turned up hundreds of complaints from all over the country.

"Well, right now we’re working with the phone companies to find out why these bills are even showing up on the local phone bill. And they’ve been cooperative so far but we want to make sure that we get to the bottom of it.”

In the meantime, make sure you take a close look at your phone bill each month so you don’t crammed.

The Florida Public Service Commission is also looking into the problem. Officials there say if you see a questionable charge on your phone bill, you should call the company that charged you if you can tell who that is, then call your local phone company to have the charge removed.

You can also file a complaint with the PSC online at www.floridapsc.com or by calling toll-free 1-800-342-3552. You should also call the Attorney General’s fraud line if you suspect fraud at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.


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