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Cell phone awareness: Avoid being a target of crammers

Americans love their cell phones, but one thing they definitely do not love is the growing ‘bill shock’ that they may experience when they open up their monthly statements.  In some cases, bill shock is a result of not having an unlimited voice, text, and data plan.  Those who are subject to limits must be quite careful to stay within them because charges for overuse can be quite considerable.

However, even consumers who do have an unlimited plan may be getting bills that are higher than expected.  This is largely due to a practice known as ‘cramming’ in the industry.  Cramming occurs when cell phone companies add on additional charges to your bill, charges for items you never signed up for, in many cases.

Cramming is nothing new.  Landline telephone companies have been engaging in the practice for years, but the explosion of cell phones across the United States has made the practice become more widespread.  Whereas previously there was usually only one phone for each American household, now a family is likely to have a landline as well as several cell phones.  More phones in operation mean more potential for misleading or fraudulent charges.

The federal government is aware of the problem; Senator Charles Schumer has urged the FCC to be stricter with cell phone companies, which frequently allow third parties to add charges onto phone bills; many fraudulent charges originate with this practice.

The next time you get a phone bill, carefully look at each line to be sure you are only paying for services you have requested.