Today we’re introducing our new documentary series, Scambook Success Stories. In Scambook Success Stories, members from around the world share their experiences overcoming fraud. It’s real people telling real stories about how fraud or bad business impacted their lives and how Scambook helped them get justice. The first episode features Karla from Nevada, who noticed a cell phone app company was charging her husband, a cancer and stroke survivor, for a download subscription he didn’t sign up for. Karla joined Scambook just to warn others about this scheme. She hadn’t been able to reach the app company on her own, so she never expected to hear from them. To her pleasant surprise, Scambook successfully reached out to the company on Karla’s behalf. The company offered to resolve her complaint, she accepted a refund and both parties were satisfied. Karla’s story exemplifies the Scambook complaint resolution experience. We hope it will inspire others to take action against fraud.
Karla and her husband, Eino, are artists living in Pahrump, Nevada. While paying the family bills one day, Karla noticed an alarming $60 charge on her husband’s cell phone account. Eino couldn’t explain it, so Karla called the phone number associated with the charge. No one answered, so she called AT&T. AT&T reviewed Eino’s account and discovered that a mobile application company had sent Eino a text message. This text message automatically enrolled him in a monthly subscription service for cell phone wallpaper downloads. Luckily, AT&T refunded Karla’s $60. They also placed a block on Eino’s account to prevent the app company from re-enrolling him.
But Karla, who is also a community activist, wasn’t satisfied. She wanted to spread the word about this unscrupulous company and others who use the same technique to exploit people. Karla emailed all her friends and family. Then, she found Scambook. She submitted a complaint and shared her story with the Scambook community to warn others about this company and their deceptions.
Karla didn’t expect to hear from the app company. In fact, Karla forgot about her complaint on Scambook. She was surprised when she received an email a few months later. The app company was working with Scambook to resolve customer complaints. They offered her a $20 refund through Scambook’s secure, neutral complaint resolution platform. Karla accepted the refund, but it wasn’t about the money anymore. She was thrilled that her complaint on Scambook had helped hold this company accountable for their malicious actions.
“The lack of awareness in consumers is what allows companies to continue with these scams,” she said. “With Scambook, people can take responsibility for what happens in their lives and realize there is light at the end of the tunnel when being victimized by companies.”
Karla and Eino experienced a type of mobile phone fraud known as cramming. Cramming occurs when a third party adds a charge to your phone bill without your consent. With so many cell phones using downloads and apps, it’s easy to sign up for a paid subscription without realizing you’ll be charged. Fortunately, as Karla’s story illustrates, most cell phone service providers, like AT&T and Verizon, will work with consumers to reverse these unauthorized charges. But it’s important to spot these fraudulent charges as soon as possible.
Read your phone bill every month and read it carefully. Know the details of your wireless plan: How many minutes do you have and what are the fees for overage time? What kind of text messaging plan are you on? What’s the cost for an international call? Understand each itemized charge on your phone bill, and if you see a charge from a merchant you don’t recognize, or a service you didn’t subscribe to, call your phone company right away. Keep an eye out for any charges that say “Billed on Behalf of” or “Miscellaneous Charges and Services” — if you find a charge under one of these categories, talk to anyone who shares your plan and see if they purchased anything. If not, it’s another sign that you may have been crammed.
If your service provider isn’t willing to refund the charges, but you pay your cell phone bill with your credit card, you may still be able to dispute the unauthorized amount. Click here to watch our video about How to Dispute an Unauthorized Credit Card Charge.
Does Karla’s story remind you of your own experience? If you’ve had unauthorized charges made by a third party on your cell phone bill, click here to submit a report on Scambook.
Do You Have a Scambook Success Story?
If you’d like to be a part of our documentary series, let us know! We’d love to share your voice with the world and use your story to inspire others. For more information, contact us.