Fraud and a Cell Phone Card

Jul 6, 2009

These days creativity in perpetrating a fraud seems to be on the rise. Who would have thought that there was a way to scam people with a cell phone card?

Those prepaid cell phone cards are a real boon to people who like to pay as they go, not thinking that full regular service is really necessary or worth the expense. Cell phone users just shell out the amount they want to pay and get on with their lives and making their calls. Depending on the cost of the card, it will provide a user with a variety of choices for time limits.

As the cell phone is used, the minutes are reduced until the card is done. So far, so good. This is a useful service for many people and the way to really save money with these cards is to compare the per-minute rate and also the other charges and fees. This is where things start to get a tad murky. The other charges and fees add up and may mean you’re paying for things you do not need to be paying for in the first place.

The deal is usually that the card company promotes the fact they have one of the lowest costs per call and are happy to help customers save money. This isn’t always the case, and these “less than honest” providers usually have many hidden charges and fees. When your cell phone is activated, a customer starts paying a large fee to keep that account active. Usually called monthly maintenance fees, these may cost anywhere from less than a dollar to up to five dollars.

While that does not add a substantial amount to the card, some of the other practices calling card providers charge, do add up. For instance, there are a plethora of different fees charged to a user for making international phone calls. Some providers will even charge for not only using the prepaid card on a cell phone, but also charge to use it on a pay phone.

For people who buy prepaid cards for their cell phones before they go on holidays, hoping to save a few bucks here and there, they are in for a surprise. Most people are not aware that every time they use their prepaid card on a cell phone, they are incurring extra charges.

If that isn’t bad enough, some prepaid calling card companies will charge a customer to start a call and to end a call. The size of that phone bill would be phenomenal when all those extra, hidden charges are added on. It’s no wonder prepaid calling cards don’t last as long as one thinks they should.

If faced with a suspected case of phone card fraud, approach the company first. If that does not work, then contact the International Prepaid Communications Association hotline and complain. If that fails, contact a local district attorney’s office and ask for the fraud unit. Before buying any prepaid phone card, carefully research all the terms, charges and fees.

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