ArsTechnica writer Nate Anderson was a recent “cramming” victim, and he wrote about his experience tracking down who was behind it. Cramming is a scam where third-party groups tell your phone company to bill you for “services,” services you never signed up for, and the phone company happily obliges, taking a cut of the fee. The phone company does no verification and all the scammer needs is your phone number. In Nate’s case, he was signed up for three different voicemail services and email-forwarding service, three at $14.95 per month, and one at $12.95, doubling his telephone bill. Snooping around, he found the companies behind it were ILD and ESBI, and scores of cramming complaints about these “companies” littered the internet. Luckily he was able to get refunds without difficulty (crammers often make it easy to cancel so you don’t go complaining to any law enforcement bodies) only providing just as much information as these con-artists used to flimflam him in the first place: his phone number. So how can you fight a crammer?
Josh discovered a mysterious $13 fee on his parents’ phone bill, and as he tracked down the source of the bogus charge, he learned a lot about cramming. The FCC describes it as “the practice of placing unauthorized, misleading, or deceptive charges on your telephone bill” by third party companies, who bank on you being too confused/distracted/annoyed by your hard-to-read bill to notice.