Cramming raising your cell phone bill?


Many Oklahomans are loudly complaining about charges showing up on their cell phone bill; charges for monthly subscriptions to which they didn’t subscribe. 

It’s called cell phone cramming and you could unknowingly become a victim.

We’re talking about seemingly random texts to your cell phone; if you don’t reply “stop” to these messages, you could be automatically signed up for a service you don’t want or need. 

Some are calling it out-and-out fraud and say it needs to stop.

The latest text message making the rounds asks cell phone users if they know why flamingos are pink. 

Thinking it’s a random text message, many Oklahomans are simply deleting it and then getting stuck with a bill. 

That’s exactly what happened to Richard Mooney. 

“It’s frustrating and this goes one step further. It’s awful,” Mooney said.

Mooney discovered a $9.99 a month charge on both his and his wife’s cell phone bill, listed under AT&T subscriptions. 

“I cannot believe that AT&T did this. I am angry at them,” Mooney said.

The attorney general’s office just started hearing about this scam in the past couple weeks. 

“If we can get a critical mass of these complaints, we can start potentially prosecuting these folks,” Assistant Attorney General Ethan Shaner said. 

The AG’s office can investigate because text messages are part of the Do Not Call list.

“I think that congress needs to get on this because if they don’t stop it, all the marketing people are going to hear about this and we’re going to get all these things again that are trying to bill us without our permission,” Mooney said.

We’re told wireless companies enter into agreements with third parties called billing aggregators. 

They enter into contracts with crammers and provide your cell phone number.

“This has got to stop right now,” Mooney said. 

Mooney emailed our senators and congressman, even logged a complaint with the FCC. 

And he said he already knew the answer to that random trivia question, why are flamingos pink? 

He said, “Because they eat shrimp and they have a red dye. Whoo! I know!”

If you receive a random text message, use websites like www.smswatchdog.com that can help you determine if it’s better to ignore it or opt out by replying “stop.” 

A local AT&T spokesperson tells us the company has installed a spam defense system and they are fighting the spam problem in the courts.