by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 20th 2007 6:52am
We haven't heard much about cramming scams lately, but they still happen all the time. For those who don't know, cramming is when a third party company either illegally gets additional charges on your telephone bill or (more often) tricks you into agreeing to more charges on your phone bill. Four years ago, we wrote about some of the tricks used in cramming call centers, where they pretend they're just "verifying" information -- and then bundle a whole bunch of questions together, tricking people into saying yes to all of the questions, when they really mean to say yes to the last question. The companies later use those recordings (sometimes edited) to prove to people that they "approved" the charges and refuse to cancel the charges or refund the money. Various state governments and the FTC have tried cracking down on these companies for a while, and the FTC went after a bunch last summer -- which has resulted in a settlement. Unfortunately, while the companies took people for $24.7 million, they're only paying back $1.2 million (and not admitting any guilt). Apparently, the firms claim that the $1.2 million is all they can afford. Apparently lesson one if you're going to scam a bunch of people is to spend all that money before the authorities catch up with you.
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