Pacific Bell warns customers:
Watch out for collect calling scam
Pacific Bell has issued
a warning regarding a collect call scam that appears to be targeting
Hispanic customers. Some Hispanic customers in the San Diego and
Orange County areas have contacted Pacific Bell regarding a scam
in which they are charged more than $50 for collect calls from Mexico,
even if they didn't accept the charges.
claims that there is a collect call from Mexico from someone with
the same last name as the party being called. Even if the call is
declined, the customers are charged a large fee.
This is a classic case
of "cramming," when a third-party provider charges for
services or fees that the customer has not authorized. Many telecommunications
companies bill through local telephone companies such as Pacific
Bell, which are required to provide billing and collections services
As part of ongoing efforts
to protect customers, Pacific Bell is offering these tips about
What To Do If You're
Crammed & How Pacific Bell Can Help
· Customers should
first attempt to deal directly with the offending company, whose
name and telephone number should be printed on the same bill page
as the charge in question. Often, the problem can be solved with
a single telephone call.
· If the offending
company does not agree to solve the problem, customers should call
Pacific Bell. Residential Customers / English: 1-800-288-1996. Residential
Customers / Spanish: 1-800-795-1116. Business: 1-800-750-2355.
· Pacific Bell
will work with its customers to ensure that "crammed"
charges are removed and that customers are not required to pay for
services they neither ordered nor received.
Tips to avoid cramming:
· Watch for suspicious
changes to your telephone bill. Carefully read your telephone bill
each month. Watch for changes to your service. Look for new names
or unfamiliar charges.
· Ask questions.
If a telecommunications provider contacts you, ask a lot of questions
to ensure you understand what is being offered, how much you will
have to pay and what you will receive. Be sure to ask for a name,
address and phone number so you can check the validity of the offer.
· Read the fine
print. Never sign anything without reading it very carefully. Cramming
can occur when you enter contests, sign telephone service incentive
checks or respond to offers of prizes.