Rip Offs Alert: Local Singles 800 Cramming Scam
By Shelley Lockwood
These scammers ran ads in various classifieds.
They gave an 800 number that you could call to meet a "single" in your area.
Victims called the 800 number and gave a detailed description of the type of single they would like to meet.
They began to receive calls from so called "local" singles. All was going well until the end of the month came around and they received their phone bills.
On their phone bills were charges for collect calls made to their number, even though they hadn't accepted any charges from incoming callers.
How'd they do that?
When the victims first called the 800 number, their phone number was grabbed by Automatic Number Identification. The phone calls they were receiving were actually long distance.
With products and services now being charged against telephone bills, there are third party companies. These companies provide the service of taking the information from the supplier of the product or service and submitting it in a special format to the local telephone companies for billing.
In this particular scam one of these companies was used by the scammers to submit the billing information.
The so called "local" singles were actually located in the same state as the scammer. Victims were billed long distance charges for all calls made to the phone number of the original incoming 800 call.
It's estimated that $5,000,000.00 was lost by victims in this scam.