Have you ever received a cryptic text message from an undisclosed number? It's possible you were being targeted by a phone-cramming scammer.
On Monday, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for the government to put a stop to this fraud, which uses text messaging to steal money from unsuspecting consumers.
Phone cramming takes place when you are sent text messages for fake services that result in extra fees and monthly charges.
In one case of cell phone cramming, a New York resident got an incoming text message as cryptic and juvenile as a bad riddle. It said, "Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp." A second text instructed the consumer to text "STOP" to put an end to these messages. Next thing the recipient knew, there was a $9.99 bogus charge on his cell phone bill, according to the statement issued by the senator's office.
"Cell phone cramming is merely scamming by another name--it steals money from cell phone users and the FCC and carriers must take prompt action to snuff it out," Sen. Schumer said in a prepared statement on Monday.
Already two major carriers, Verizon and AT&T, have banned cramming on landlines--but not cellphones--thanks to an effort by Senator Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) last year. Sen. Schumer has also asked carriers to ban third-party cramming charges until the FCC passes a law to protect consumers.
Other cell phone cramming scams can look like enticements to sign up for a daily horoscope service or gossip news.