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Oct 07 2010

Popular Culture 20101008: Telephone Billing Scams

( – promoted by Translator, aka Dr. David W. Smith)

Well, this will not be nearly as entertaining as some of the music ones, but it is still part of popular culture.  There is a telephone billing scam going around, and I daresay that at least one of you reading this has become a victim of it.  I was.

It has to do with third party billing to your telephone bill.  You do not call 900 numbers?  No matter.  Not the 809 ones to the Bahamas?  No matter.  Right now, this audience is being vacuumed for telephone numbers for surreptitious billing.  It happened to me, and I thought that it was my fault.  It was not.  Please continue this journey.

There are lots of scams going on these days, and this one is pernicious and far reaching.  It has to do with a “respectable” third party telephone billing service and hundreds of extremely questionable services that use it for third party billing.  I shall name names, if either of them want to sue me, luck.  Blood is difficult to extract from a turnip.

Here is the story, and this is not the first time for it to occur.  The former Mrs. Translator got a telephone bill for September of this year that had a $14.99 charge from ILD Telecom.  The next month, she got another one, for the same amount.

She had never been involved with them, so she called me to see if I had, and had used her telephone number to make it so.  Of course I had not, and then looked into the subject.

I did a little research and found that ILD has settled with at least two states for illegal practices, and with the FTC for the same thing.  You might think that this would make that company go away.  You would be incorrect.

ILD holds contracts in many states to provide collect calls from folks in jail or in prison to talk to family.  They do this at a huge premium, and all of the profits NEVER go back to the states or counties.  ILD needs the CEO to testify in real court testimony.

Here is my experience.

The former Mrs. Translator got a bill for a service which she did not subscribe.  Human nature as at it is, she accused me of getting it, and using her telephone number.  But, I just have a landline, so there is no benefit for ring tones.  By the way, I can just make my cellular telephone use a regular ring.  I have never wanted exotic ringtones.

It turns out that the human at ILD told me about the other site, USMusicfind.  That site is criminal, and the folks who run it know it.  I called their number, and the only option on the voice mail was to remove any bogus charges.  There was no other option.  Interestingly, this site demanded that the very telephone number that was compromised to be entered to cut off the illegal intrusion.

Please do not fall for either of these sites.

Warmest regards,

Doc

Crossposted at Dailykos.com and at Docudharma.com

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