Government Agencies Are Big Targets For Phone Bill Cramming

Crammers are ripping off taxpayers across the country by getting fake charges put on the phone bills of government agencies.

CBS Sacramento reports on how government agencies in Sacramento are finding about $1,000 a month. The US Postal Service found even more, getting crammed for $110,000. And the US Navy got $11,000 in three months. They disputed them, but about $600 a month keep cropping up. It’s a game of whack-a-mole, and its costing you money.

The agencies are actively disputing the charges, but that means more taxpayer dollars spent on finding and fixing charges that should never have been assessed in the first place.

“We can’t afford to have our cities and counties having to spend hours and hours on the telephone fixing these false charges that they have to pay,” Senator Barbara Boxer told CBS 13.

Phone companies say they refund charges to any customer who reports them and shut down unauthorized 3rd party billing places. But that’s little help when the companies just refile under a new name and start charging again. Phone companies get a percentage on passing on third party billing charges, so even if they refund those who complain, they’re benefiting as well from all the people, and government agencies, who don’t notice the fraudulent charges.

Here’s how to check your bill for suspicious charges, fight back, and get them refunded.

On The Money: Cramming – Fraudulent Practice Harms Taxpayers [CBS Sacramento]