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Monthly phone bill worth a closer look

Monthly phone bill worth a closer look

Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2009 9:04 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER
Messenger Associate Editor
Are you paying for something you didn’t order?
If you have landline phone service, you just may be. Let me explain.
To my surprise, when I opened my AT&T bill this month, I noticed the bill was higher than usual.
I guessed at first that it was surely some new government charge that the company had managed in some way to pass along to me. Then, I noticed an asterisk that directed me to a statement which said it was a new service.
I know for a fact that I did not add a new service to my phone line, so I decided to make a call to this OAN company.
At first I was forcefully told that I had indeed ordered this voice mail service on Aug. 4 through my computer using my e-mail address. The problem? It wasn’t my e-mail address and the person used a maiden name that is far from my own.
After about an hour of struggling through company representatives who were difficult to understand, I finally got them to cancel the service and refund me for what they say they charged.
Since the amount was not the full amount I was charged, I proceeded to call AT&T to find out if the extra charge would be taken off my bill. A nice sounding gentleman assured me it was the tax on the service and it would be removed from my bill. Then, he transferred me to the fraud department.
Elizabeth in the fraud department said this is happening quite often and said it happens generally when someone answers a survey online, but uses someone else’s phone number. She proceeded to place a third-party block on my phone line to prevent any such charges in the future.
You can image my surprise today when I was relaying the information about the unfortunate charges on my account and a co-worker said she has had the same problem with OAN.
I encourage you to check your phone bills to see if you’ve also been a victim of fraud. If you have an elderly friend, please check their bills as well. They may just be paying for something they never ordered.
I also encourage you to call you phone companies, even if you haven’t been victimized, and have this third-party charge block placed on your phone number as well.
Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.3.09

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