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AT&T to pay $7.75 million for phone bill scam

2016-08-09 16:22 by
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AT&T will have to pay $7.75 million in fines and refunds for allowing scammers to charge thousands of customers approximately $9 per month for a bogus directory assistance service.

The fraudulent charges scheme was discovered by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), while investigating two Ohio-based companies, Discount Directory, Inc. (DDI) and Enhanced Telecommunications Services (ETS), for drug and money laundering. The DEA reported the scam to the FCC in 2015.

"The key participants in the scheme told DEA agents that the companies were set up to bill thousands of consumers (mostly small businesses) for a monthly directory assistance service on their local AT&T landline telephone bills," the FCC said. "The DEA referred this investigation to the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau in 2015."

"A phone bill should not be a tool for drug traffickers, money launderers, and other unscrupulous third parties to fleece American consumers," Travis LeBlanc, chief of the FCC's enforcement bureau, said in a statement. "Today’s settlement ensures that AT&T customers who were charged for this sham service will get their money back and that all AT&T consumers will enjoy greater protections against unauthorized charges on their phone bills in the future."

The cramming charges began in January 2012 and apparently continued until the DEA investigation, even though AT&T told a Senate committee in March 2012 that it would restrict third-party billing to prevent fraud.

Read more -here-

 

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