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Cell Phone Fraud

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posted on Mar, 16 2005 @ 03:21 PM
Ever felt like you were getting overcharged for minute usage on your cell phone bill, but got no cooperation from so-called customer service reps?

Ever had your cell phone drop a call for seemingly no reason, then you can't make another call right away? Or gotten multiple wrong number calls asking for the same person, from different people?

Have you been assured that it is virtually impossible for anyone to hack into your line and use your number on another phone?

Do you realize that if your bill doesn't display the number that dialed you for incoming calls, you have no way of tracking them other than by time of call placement?

I had an interesting experience a couple years back with just this combination of factors. The company that I had service with then recently took major losses and ended up in a merger, but will remain nameless.

If you are still interested, read on.

July 16, 2003

Dear Wireless Fraud Investigator,

As I have detailed in several calls to Cust. Svc., I am disputing my bill for the period ending 5/27/03. I have paid $250.00 in good faith and to maintain service until this matter is resolved.

At first, I was upset that the rep I spoke to on 5/27/03 assured me that the new plan I chose that day would cover my minutes used for the period ending that day. I was subsequently charged for 564 additional minutes, even though I had increased my plan anytime minutes from 600 to 900, and had tried to get an unlimited plan to no avail. I knew I was using my phone more in May, but not that much more. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an e-account at that time to check my minutes so I had to rely on the rep, and eventually a supervisor named Doug who was less than helpful.

Then, on 6/5/03, at 6:28 pm, I received a call from an unidentified young Hispanic adult sounding male asking for “Olivia”. I asked what number he had dialed, and he laughed, saying “XXX-XXXX”. My caller I.D. showed the number that had called was YYY-YYY-YYYY. I recalled then that I had some strange calls for an “Olivia” or some other Latin sounding female name back in February or March and had reported then that I thought something was going on with my phone. I received a second call for “Olivia” from an unidentified young Hispanic adult sounding female on 6/6/03 at 2:01 pm. When I asked her what number she had dialed, she made a sighing sound and hung up on me. My caller I.D. showed the number that had called me was ZZZ-ZZZ-ZZZZ.

I again spoke to Cust. Svc. At 4:55 pm on 6/6/03, and requested connection to the Fraud Dept. Again your rep was less than helpful, and the Fraud Dept. was closed. What are the chances that two different people calling the same third person would both dial the same wrong number? Look at a phone key pad and try to hit 8-5-0 while dialing 9-2-4. It is nearly impossible in both instances. I called back the three numbers I now had; first ZZZ-ZZZZ and reached a Hispanic sounding male with limited English after many rings; then YYY-YYYY and reached a voice-mailbox with four male Hispanic names detailed by a male speaking Hispanic accented English; then XXX-XXXX where what sounded like a young male Hispanic answered and said there was no “Olivia” at that number, confirming my suspicion that it was a bogus number to begin with. It then occurred to me that “Olivia” is the street name on my billing address.

Taken together, along with the fact that my minute usage pattern had changed in May, using up the cushion of minutes on my calling plan, these factors add up to compelling circumstantial evidence that my cell phone was/is being used to take incoming calls for someone using the name “Olivia”. The problem started after we purchased new phones at the Wireless store. When the new phones were activated, we found that we couldn’t receive calls on them unless the old phones were turned off. If the old phones were on, they would ring and not the new phones.

I demand a complete accounting of all my incoming calls since February, and an explanation of what is going on from the Fraud Dept., as well as any credit I am due arising from their investigation. I will not pay the outstanding balance on my May bill or let this matter rest until then.

Needless to say, I got zero cooperation from CS and ended up having to pay my entire bill to protect my credit, then dumped that company and went elsewhere for service.

Somehow, I feel that I'm not alone. Any other similar experiences out there?

posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 07:35 AM
I guess not. Thanks for reading, though.

posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 11:09 AM
You gotta love those CS reps. Unfortunately, I have to deal with them daily.

You need to look your bill over to determine if there is calls that you're not making. It's really tough to clone a digital phone unlike the old analog phones, which was easy and rampant. I haven't heard of an actual cloned digital phone ever and I'm a service manager for a small chain of cell phone stores. Identity fraud is the only type of cell phone fraud that I've ran across in years.

About the old phones still receiving calls, that's normal. They should be turned off when switching service to a new phone or that can happen. If they still receive calls after being turned off and back on again, there is definitely a problem.

posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 10:30 PM
Thanks for the info, B. Goode.

I had the old phone off for the download, then a couple days later I was letting my son play with it a little bit when it started ringing. That was the first sign something wasn't right.

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