[January 19, 2012- Nashville, TN] In today's technology driven world, consumers are faced with an overwhelming amount of information on a daily basis, but when it comes to personal cell phones, many assume they are protected from unsolicited text messages. Unfortunately, scammers have found a way into consumer wallets by way of sending "Short Message Service" (SMS) texts to personal cell phones resulting in cramming charges.
The Set Up: You receive a text message from an unknown number, such as 90567 or 99716, with a short message attached. For example:
- TXTALTSNOW:You?ll receive Entertnmnt Alts.$9.99/mo billed to cell; 3 msg /wk. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. Msg&Data rates may apply.
- So many business cards. Who needs them? CardSMS 4 all ur updates! Qs? 866.531.0372 9.99/mo help/stop - share ur info!
Here are examples:
The Scheme: The recipient of the text ignores the SMS messages because the sender is unknown and the message appears to be spam.
The Hoax: Unsuspecting consumers receive data charges "crammed" into their monthly cell phone bill in the amount of $9.99 for each SMS text sent, and the scammer depends on the consumer paying the bill without questioning the charges.
Although the text message indicates by replying to the message with "STOP" the service will cancel, BBB has received reports from consumers indicating charges continue to appear on cell phone bills.
here are examples:
"Cramming" is the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on telephone bills. Crammers have always relied on confusing telephone bills in an attempt to trick consumers into paying for services they did not authorize or receive, or that cost more than the consumer was led to believe.
How to Protect Yourself and Save Money:
Carefully review your cell phone bill every month. Treat it like any other major consumer purchase or service, and review your monthly bills just as closely as you review your credit card and bank statements. Ask yourself the following questions as you review your cell phone bill:
- Do I recognize the names of all the companies listed on my bill?
- What services did the listed companies provide?
- Does my bill include charges for calls I did not place and services I did not authorize?
- Are the rates and line items consistent with the rates and line items that the company quoted to me?
Actions To Take if You've Been Crammed:
- Immediately call your cell phone provider to dispute the cramming charges. To avoid future charges, be sure to ask your cell phone provider to put a "block" on your account.
- File a complaint with BBB by visiting www.Nashville.BBB.org
# # #
When in Doubt, remember to check with BBB for information on businesses you can TRUST by visiting
The BBB of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was founded in 1961 as a non-profit Tennessee organization serving 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and 7 counties in Southern Kentucky. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.
Serving as the 'ethical gatepost' of our communities, BBB fosters and promotes ethical business practices and self-regulation standards that build consumer trust in the marketplace. BBB services include business reliability information, complaint resolution services and consumer and business educational information.
[Subscribe Here] to
receive Alerts & News updates from the BBB