Fight Bogus Charge Cramming With Account Freeze Power

Regarding, “Watch Out For Bogus Charges On Your Phone Bill,” it turns out there’s a more proactive way to fight back against companies passing unauthorized charges on and having your phone company bill you for them. You might be able to get your account “frozen,” according to Verizon’s Fraud and Scam alert page:

    “Most local companies allow you to place a “freeze” on your long distance choice and overall phone bill, requiring specific authorization from you before a new charge is added or the long distance provider is changed.”

If cellphone companies don’t offer this, as we suspect they don’t, they should.

Fraud and Scam Alerts [Verizon]

Comments

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  1. morganlh85 says:

    Do you mean “frozen”? lol

  2. morganlh85 says:

    PS There’s a lot of things cell phone companies SHOULD do, unfortunately.

  3. ATTSlave says:

    at&t has a couple things you can do to combat this. Cramming protection and a third party billing exception.

  4. Buran says:

    @morganlh85: Was going to say …

  5. Scuba Steve says:

    If your cell phone company doesn’t offer this, you might be 90% of everyone.

  6. dragonpup says:

    Keep in mind that if you freeze your phone account, you typically can not port the number to another carrier until after the freeze is removed.

  7. primechuck says:

    I’m sorry, but the freeze they allude to is a called a PIC Freeze locking your long distance carrier in both the Local Exchange Carriers billing system and their switch. It has been around for a while since the MCI/Sprint/ATT long distance fight’s of the 80’s and early 90s. It usually requires paper work, has to be done via the local company that provides your dial tone and doesn’t stop the more common fraud of getting “Enhanced VoiceMail Service” for 15.99 a month in the 3rd party billing section of your bill.

    I’m also not sure how this would be a benefit to have on your Cell phone account, since every plan I’ve ever seen has air time/minute charges and makes no distinction between long distance and local.

  8. fscrp says:

    I called my local carrier last year when the “enhanced voicemail service” appeared on my bill. In order to get the protection against future unwanted enhancements, I would have been charged an extra $3.99 per month by my phone company!

    I did tell them that the charge was fraudulant and to make a note on my account of it and that I was refusing to pay it. I forget the name of the 3rd party who made the charge, but a few minutes searching online produced many stories specific to the company. Somehow I got very lucky and spoke to a CSR right away and told them I did not order the service. As promised, all charges were reversed on my next bill.

  9. rhombopteryx says:

    @primechuck:

    THerre are several billing restrictions that generally get lumped together and called similar names like freeze, including the PIC freeze you allude to. Fortunately, many local (land line) phone companies also will “freeze” the account from third party billing of several different types (no enhanced services, etc.) without additional authorization. They are usually happy to – you’re locking out their competition in most cases. UNfortunately, these same local phone companies are usually really bad about allowing “locks” against services they themselves provide. Have a roomate who runs up the *69 or 411 or enhanced voicemail charges and you want to just shut them off? Huh, the local companies don’t seem to be able to lock those things out. Guess they’ll just have to keep billing you for them…