Telephone Fraud - Slamming and Cramming
"Slamming" and "cramming" are two common forms of telephone fraud. "Slamming" is the illegal practice of changing your local or long-distance telephone service without your permission. "Cramming" is the illegal practice of adding features to your existing service and charging for them on your cell phone or landline bill without your permission. Both are illegal under Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. Here are some tips to avoid being "slammed" or "crammed":
- Carefully read your home telephone and cellular phone bill every month to make sure you are only paying for the services you originally signed up for. Go over every call and double check the entire bill. Many consumers don't catch the changes until they've overpaid for services, often for months at a time. If you see an item for “premium messaging,” contact your cellular service provider to ensure that you’re paying for a service that you’ve requested.
- For home telephone services, read all the fine print on any contest form or coupon offer before you fill it out and sign. Some long-distance carriers may use these offers as a way to get you to switch service. Be careful to fully read what you are signing before you mail the contest form or coupon offer to the company.
- Have your local telephone company "freeze" your long-distance service to prevent anyone but you from switching to a different long distance service or adding services onto your existing carrier.
- For cellular phone services, do not give your cellular phone number to unsecured internet sites or sites that you do not trust. Similarly, do not enter your cellular phone number into sweepstake promotions.
- If you receive text messages from a company that you don’t recognize, do not reply. If you are receiving daily text messages of weather updates, horoscopes, celebrity gossip, dating tips, or sports scores that you did not request, contact your cellular service provider to make sure you are not being charged for premium messaging.
- Ask your cellular service provider to block all third party billing.
If you believe you have been a victim of "slamming" or "cramming," please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763; in Tucson at (520) 628-6504; or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.
Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General's Web site at www.azag.gov.