‘Cramming’ Could Be Costing You On Phone Bills

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Telephone bills can be long and arduous to read through, but it may be worth doing to ensure you are not paying for services you didn’t sign up for.

When Linda Hastings opened her telephone bill, she caught something unusual.

“I received my Verizon bill, and there was a charge of $13.86, and it was from a company that I don’t know who it is or what they do,” Hastings said.

Hastings was a victim of cramming. She was being charged for services she never ordered on her bill.

In this case, the charges were generated by a third party bill aggregator called ILD Teleservices in Florida.

Hastings finally reached a customer service rep to ask about the charges.

“She said, ‘Your husband made a phone call on May 11, 2011, for services, for online services with our company.’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess he came back from the dead. He’s been dead eight years,’” Hastings said.

Most people have to look through many pages of their bills to find all the different charges.

Hastings caught the fraud, but worries many do not. In fact, the Federal Communications Commission said 15 to 20 million households are victimized every year.

Verizon said cramming is bad for consumers and it has revoked billing privileges for 70 crammers in the past four years.

However, the company does make money allowing ILD and others to use their bill collection services.

On Hastings’ bill, ILD said the charge came from Compufix, which is a California company with no relationship to the one in Pittsburgh.

A spokeswoman for iILD said it will investigate and wants to stop crammers, too.

The best solution for consumers is something called Bill Block.

Call Verizon or your landline provider to request the service and stop any chance of cramming on your bill.


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  • Kevin Klaum

    After seeing Jon Delano’s report on “cramming” on the 6:00 news tonight, my wife and I decided to check our past Verizon phone bills. Sure enough we had been charged just under $15 per month for almost the past year by a company named City Celebrity (an online movie service), with an additional charge of $15 per month for the past 5 months being charged by another company named Total Protectionplus (an online fax service). Neither my wife nor I ever signed up for either of these services. We then called the customer service departments for both of these companies and they are cancelling our subscription for both services as well as refunding our past charges.

    Thanks Jon and staff for bringing this to the public’s attention.

  • Linda Hastings

    I wanted to make people aware of this cramming by reporting it to the news and I am glad that this helped you.


  • Kathy B.

    I too have a charge for $12.95 from ILD/Compufix. I have never authorized such a charge. I called ILD and they told me, due to high call volume they would call me back. No call has arrived. I called Verizon. They told me a block would be placed on my account but they couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t happen again. This is ridiculous, can’t we do anything else? I am very mad about this. I don’t have extra money to spend on Nothing.

  • Rose V

    I work for grocery store-This has been part of my job to monitor the utility bills. Over the past 6 years there has been thousands of dollars that I had to recover because these companies do get hold of your bills change anything they want on your bill without permission, sometimes you can not recoop your lose because they do not return your call or the number is disconnected. This on going battle which there should be a law–It is ashame we have to spend all our energy trying to keep people from getting our information and change our accounts–it just takes them a few minutes to get into our accounts and make a buck . We had passwords, blocks and anything possible -but nobody ask to verify information when you call in. It is the elders that somebody has to look out for. Be Aware of Everything!! Rose

  • Anonymous

    Happens on cellphone bills too!

  • Also...

    Check your cell phone bills too!

  • http://cbsnews.asktavoris.com/report-bogus-charges-on-phone-bills-may-cost-americans-billions/ CBS News » Report: Bogus charges on phone bills may cost Americans billions

    […] News affiliates in Denver and Pittsburgh have also reported previously about the illegal practice and the FCC’s attempts to crack down […]

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