8 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Unauthorized

3rd-Party Phone Charges


Victory State Bank, Staten Island’s only community-based business bank is calling attention to a problem they may be costing you money – simply because you own a phone.

According to the FBI, a problem that has bedeviled landline telephone users for a while is increasingly causing headaches for mobile phone users as well. It’s called cramming, and it involves a third party placing unauthorized charges on your wired, wireless, or bundled services telephone bill.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that cramming has impacted tens of millions of American households.

Cramming practitioners take advantage of what’s known as local exchange carrier (LEC) billing, which allows users of particular electronic products or services — like ringtones, cell phone wallpaper, and premium text messages of sports scores or daily horoscopes, etc. — to be billed through their local telephone company accounts rather than directly from the providers of the product or service. LEC billing is lawful, as long as the customer is aware of and has agreed to these charges. But when extra charges are placed on customers’ bills without their knowledge or consent, it’s cramming.

The FBI Shares These Tips to Protect Yourself Against Cramming:

1) Carefully review your telephone bill every month for unfamiliar charges (they could be monthly or one-time-only charges). Some telephone companies mail out abbreviated bills with few details, but may offer more detailed bills online or upon request.

2) Keep an eye out for generic-sounding services and fees listed on your phone bill, like Min. Use Fee, Activation, Member Fee, or Subscription.

3) Keep a record of the services you have authorized, even for small charges.

4) Don’t enter your telephone number on unsecured websites.

5) Be on the lookout for unsolicited text messages. A text message from someone you don’t know could be a signal that you might be signed up for a service you didn’t order.

6) Carefully read all forms and promotional materials—including the fine print—before signing up for telephone or other services to be charged on your bill.

7) Ask your telephone carrier about any services it may offer that block third-party charges.

8) When in doubt, ask questions. If you don’t know what a charge listed on your bill is for, ask your telephone company to explain it before you pay it.

More information on cramming can be found on the websites of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.


About Victory State Bank


VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office in the community of Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.


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