Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of new scammer tricks that could cost you money. Cell phone users and credit card holders beware of unauthorized charges appearing on monthly wireless or credit card statements.
Don’t Call Back Scam. Consumers in Upstate New York and several other states report getting calls on their mobile phones during which the caller hangs up as a hook to get you to call back. If cell phone owners do call back, they’re 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. The practice of third parties placing unauthorized charges on wireless accounts is called “cramming.” 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).
Cramming happens when a company uses your mobile or landline phone bill like a credit card, and adds a charge for services like trivia, ringtones, daily horoscopes or love tips to your bill that you didn’t use or agree to. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have reviewed thousands of complaints about the practice, and expect the problem to grow.
BBB Advice so you don’t get Hooked by Cramming:
This is a Test Scam. In another new con, crooks are using stolen credit card numbers and adding unexplained charges of $9.84. These scammers are banking on the fact that Upstate New York consumers won’t check their credit card statements all that carefully.
Consumers who spot the strange charge of $9.84 on their credit card statement find the source listed is an unfamiliar website. When consumers check out the web address, and it’s not the business website. It’s a generic landing page that claims to offer “Customer Support.” Victims report calling the “customer support” site and receiving verbal confirmation that the charge would be canceled. BBB advises not to take the scammers at their word.
Scammers charging stolen credit card numbers for a small amount of money often do so as a test since they may come back for more if the $9.84 charge isn’t noticed. The expectation is that many cardholders won’t notice the relatively small charge, and the credit card companies won’t go after such a minor sum.
BBB advice to reduce Your Risk of Credit Card Fraud: