Mob Accused In $200 Million Cramming Scam

from the on-top-of-porn-scam dept

Traditional NY organized crime groups have clearly moved into the technology age. Last year we wrote about charges filed against some mob members accusing them of scamming people out of $230 million by charging people $60/month for a "free" porn site. The scam worked by telling visitors they needed their credit card number for proof of age, but then charging it anyway. It still amazes me that they were able to scam that much money. $230 million is an awful lot of $60 charges that people didn't contest. Now, however, the NY Times is claiming that the same people were involved in yet another scam, using the ever-popular "cramming" technique to bilk an additional $200 million out of unsuspecting people. They would get people to call a "toll free" line for a "dating service" or "psychic hotline", and then use a shell company to place monthly charges directly on the users' phone bill (a typical scam known as cramming). In this case, it sounds like a lot of people did complain, and the company gave them refunds - but nearly half just paid up (don't people look at their bills?) without thinking about it. The scam got even more blatant when some phone companies caught on to the scam and blocked them from adding their charges to phone bills. Instead of losing out on the potential profits, the scammers registered names of companies that sounded very similar to local phone companies (for example: Southwest Region Bill instead of Southwestern Bell) and sent them bills directly - making sure those bills looked exactly like the real phone company's bills. To entice people to pay up, they made it clear in the bill that anyone who didn't pay would lose "all services".

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