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FTC Investigating Cell Phone 'Cramming'

Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 09:24 PM EDT
If you're not paying close attention to your cell phone bill, you may be getting ripped off and not even know it. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on hidden charges known as 'cramming.'

Victims of the scheme, like Christie Hicks, say the extra charges were buried in their bill and undetected for months.

"One month of it being a little higher and we didn't think anything of it and it wasn't until three months of it being consistently higher that we finally looked into it and discovered we had been cramming victims," Hicks said.

Consumers can pay for services by having it tacked onto their cell phone bills. For example, in the days following Hurricane Katrina, text donations were billed to cell phone user with their permission.

But over the years, some companies have taken advantage of the feature.

"Malicious software that's downloaded on your phone after you download a app and that gets your phone number and somehow your signed up for some kind of service," said

Once they get your number, they cram on the fees under generic titles like 'subscription charges.'

Hicks believes she was crammed by Wise Media, which is now at the center of a federal lawsuit. It's the first company the FTC has gone after and they say it's just the tip of the iceberg.

Meanwhile, Wise Media denies cramming customers and says the fees were for subscriptions services and anyone who requested a refund received one.FTC Investigating Cell Phone 'Cramming'


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