The charges aren’t easy to spot. They can come in all kinds of flavors, from taxes and voicemail add-ons to service and miscellaneous charges. But they do have one thing in common … many times, you shouldn’t be paying them.
“Often times they are charges that are in no way something that you signed up for or requested when you were at point of sale,” Larsen says.
So who’s got access to you cell phone bill, and how do they get your number?
Larsen says it can happen in an instant by responding to an unknown text or buying extras like ringtones. There are companies waiting to get their hands on your number. They’ll charge you for things like games, voicemail and apps. The problem is you haven’t actually signed up for any of it.
“You might have gone onto the internet and signed up for something else put in your cell phone bill and somehow in the background of the wonderful internet we have today, information starts appearing other places,” Larsen explains.
When that information gets into the wrong hands, your bill goes up. The illegal charges can be anywhere from $2 to $20 a month.
“There’s money to be made out there and unfortunately they prey on the weak,” Larsen says. “They prey on those who will ignore a small charge that sometimes goes unnoticed for years and years.”
The good news is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is cracking down on cramming. Even so, they can’t catch everyone, which is why you should pull out the old cell phone bill, call your provider, and opt out of third party billing.
“They should question every single line item,” says Larsen. “They should not take anything for granted. Ask for an explanation. If there’s no explanation, it’s probably is a miscellaneous charge.”
The FCC recently proposed new rules for cell phone providers and third-party companies. If a company is caught charging consumers excess fees, they could be subject to high fines. Cell phone companies may also soon have to put third-party charges in a separate section of your phone bill.