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Welcome back everybody this is a stand that is costing phone user's cell phone and land -- millions of dollars.
It's called cram.
It's -- con artists get hold of your phone number and they use it like a credit card.
They add charges to your phone bill for services you may have never ordered.
You definitely are getting charged for it.
In today's take charge consumer protection segment I wanted to tell you about cramming -- how to avoid it from happening to you.
Best person to tell you about it is Lisa Madigan the attorney general from Illinois who is seen -- scam grow and has taken action.
Attorney general Madigan thank you so much for joining us.
Jamie it's my pleasure thank you for having me you from only the second state that has signed a law.
Against cramming and it's 300 million false charges a year.
Adding up to something like two billion dollars -- -- huge amount of monies that are those numbers correct.
Those numbers are accurate and it's happening -- fifteen to twenty million people a year.
It's truly -- kind of an unbelievable number and what's truly shocking is that.
One out of twenty people.
Figures out that they're being -- so in other words you're really talking about only 5%.
Of the people who get crammed to even know what happens.
So it's been up persistent and pervasive scam over the last ten to fifteen years on your landline.
And what things people need to know is is starting to move to your wireless bill as well.
How do you know if you're being crammed and what does the -- that you put into place due to prevent.
Well the way you find out if you're being crammed is to check your phone bill.
And there will be a section on the bill that talks about other services.
And -- if you see something on your phone bill and you don't know what it's about and it's usually a charge that can be anywhere from.
To as much as about 4999.
You need to follow what you need to call the phone company you need to call the number that's on your phone bill and ask about what that service might be.
What are -- did is because over the past fifteen years we've filed thirty lawsuits against these cramming.
People we decided it's -- we there's no way we can litigate our way out of this there aren't enough consumer protections in place and so -- simply.
Said we are banning third party charges on land line bills.
And eventually while we were negotiating the bill AT&T and Verizon looked up and -- all right we'll stop doing this.
And so in about a week they'll stop doing that.
But there's still a lot of other carriers out there who would not agree to this.
Are the phone carriers are unwilling participant well I know -- participants in -- because in the research I have been.
Reading and I've been working on this idea for months I wanted people to know there's something called the billing -- -- They're the one's set for falsely claim that you ordered a service and then -- charge -- to your phone bill who are those people.
They're the middle man.
So essentially got the out right con artists who -- of the alleged vendors.
Who are providing you with the service although it's a service that day you didn't want to and you don't -- you actually probably never authorized.
What they do then is send the charge on to what's known as a Billy navigator that's the person events and the charge on today actual carrier the AT&T and Verizon's.
Who ultimately put it on your phone bill so it.
The real answer your question is.
The phone companies know what's going on and the reason they know what's going on is that they actually profit.
From this practice.
It's not an enormous amount of profit but it substantial enough that they had you know only recently looked up and said all right there really is a problem.
And we'll address this problem because of the consumer complaints.
But very they know what's going on around and they have made money from a got to tell you of all to take charge consumer protection segments I've done this is a way out.
And I hope everybody checks their bill not only your home bill but also your cell phone bill.
Attorney general -- great work on this I hope other states we'll take notice and take charge thank you.
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