Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Just a quick heads up to make you aware that there is some telephone scamming going around called "cramming." When I got my telephone bill at the shop yesterday I wondered why it was more expensive than usual. As I do with every single bill, I read each line by line charge and found there was an additional monthly charge of $45.90 that was billed on behalf of the "local senior center." Huh?
I showed my husband and he assured me he didn't authorize any sort of monthly charge for anyone. Who was this local senior center anyway? There was no name, just the generic term. Thirty minutes later, after having gone through the automated Verizon service, and then being on hold to talk to an actual person, Verizon removed the charge. I thought I had a block on the line already, but upon checking was informed that the block only applied to fly-by-night phone companies who attempt to change my service to theirs. If I wanted to block these type of charges I had to implement a "cramming block" which is what I was told this practice was called.
I let Verizon know although we don't have anything against senior citizens, we didn't authorize any charges like this and asked how does this happen. I was told the way these companies work is they'll ask you something inauspicious like, "Is this XYZ Company?" When you answer "yes" they hang up. They then take your recorded "yes" and edit it onto a recording after they ask if you would like to donate to their company, which they play back for you when you call up to complain that this is an unauthorized charge. It's a total scam that probably gets overlooked by many companies who have large bills. An additional $45.90 monthly charge to me is pretty large so would not be overlooked as easy as a company that had hundreds of employees. Verizon told me it might take a couple of billing cycles for it to disappear totally from my bill. I don't know if they're hitting residential lines too so make sure you check your bills.