Answering or calling unknown numbers can cost you. Better Business Bureau is warning cell phone users about a new scam that can result in unauthorized charges appearing on their monthly wireless statement.
Consumers in several states report getting calls on their mobile phones during which the caller hangs up. When cell phone owners call back, they are connected to a paid international adult entertainment service or chat line located outside the country.
Victims are subsequently billed not only for the incoming international call if they answer, but also the unwanted “premium service,” which typically appears as a $19.95 charge. In some cases, crammers may only put a small charge of several dollars, so as not to arouse suspicion.
The area codes that appear on the caller ID often originate from the Dominican Republic (809), Jamaica (876), British Virgin Islands (284) and Grenada (473).
The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called “cramming.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.
Better Business Bureau recommends if you don’t recognize an out-of-state telephone number on your caller ID, ignore it and if you do answer, do not call back. Check your wireless bills carefully and inform your carrier if you spot any for unauthorized charges.