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Bill curtails phone 'cramming'

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 07:46:09 CDT

The Illinois legislature has sent a measure to the Governor targeting companies that fraudulently add charges to phone bills. But it would only apply to land-lines, not cell-phones. "Cramming" is what happens when companies attach charges to phone bills for services that never happen. The charge might appear as identify theft protection or voicemail service. And the vast majority of the time, scammers go undetected by consumers because the charges aren't huge sums of money. Scott Musser with AARP Illinois says it's often seniors who are the targets:


"When we talk about land-line telephone service ... our membership is probably the audience that is most likely still to have a land-line phone."

And it's because many customers have switched to cell-phones that Jim Chilsen, with the Citizens Utility Board, says targeting fraudulent charges on land-lines is not enough:


"The new battle ground is the wireless industry."

Consumer advocates are pressuring the federal government to regulate cramming on cellphone bills.

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