Cell phone users should keep an eye on their phone bill.
The Citizens Utility Board says the number of fraudulent “cramming” fees charged to cell phones in Illinois nearly doubled over last year. The practice involves third-party companies that “cram”charges on phone bills for services customers never ordered or received.
David Kolata, CUB executive director, says more cell phone bills are being “crammed” in part because of a measure signed into law this year that bans most third-party charges from traditional, hard-line telephone bills.
“As they’re driven from landline bills, scam artists may see our cell phones as a new frontier for fraud,” Kolata said.
The percentage of third-party charges that appear to be fraudulent went from 26 percent last year to 51 percent this year.
On average, “cramming” charges average $3.76 a month in Illinois and $5.10 a month nationally. Illinois has 12.3 million cell phone subscribers.
Kolata hopes to have legislation introduced this spring to address the “cramming” problem. He says if you notice unexplained or unwanted charges on your bill, contact your service provider and the attorney general’s office.
(Posted 12-5-2012 at 8:56am, Illinois Radio Network)