TAMPA - Most cell phone users have been hit with an unexpected charge or two on their bill over the years. In most cases, you call your carrier, and they'll remove the questionable charge.
But one woman discovered it's not so easy if your phone is hacked, and you end up billed for thousands of dollars in calls!
$3,000 Monthly Bill
Anita Davis had never seen anything like it: A monthly cell phone bill not in the hundreds of dollars, but thousands!
"Uh, $3,151 worth of calls. In one month," she said. "Three thousand dollars worth of calls to countries like Pakistan, Israel, Jordan, Africa."
Anita tells me she immediately called T-Mobile, where she's been a customer for 6 years.
She said "I told them I don't know anyone in these countries, I don't know anyone outside the United States. They told me I had to have directly dialed these numbers from my cell phone, and I needed to make a payment arrangement or they would send my bill to collections."
While the agent told her the calls had to originate from her phone, we did some research and found there may have been another source.
Growing New Crime
The Montreal Gazette and AOL news recently reported on the growing crime of cell phone hacking, using instructions available online, and software costing less than $100.
The reports say criminals slide up next to you in a coffee shop or park, and with their laptop hack into your phone, stealing its number. Older 2G phones appear to be most at risk.
That is apparently what happened to Anita's phone, as she knows no one in the Mideast. She said "they can look at my history and see I've never made an international call. So I'm kind of P.O.'d."
So I contacted T-Mobile, and the company agreed to drop the entire bill, and put a block on her number. She won't have to pay for someone else's calls.
Catch Problems Early
So don't let this happen to you. Check your calling record and minutes used frequently, not just at the end of the month when you get your bill. That way if something strange pops up, you catch it early.
You can check your usage online, or through your phone itself, and that way you don't waste your money.
For more Don't Waste Your Money reports, visit abcactionnews.com/money .
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Can you hear me now. That is exactly what one cell phone customer found herself asking over and over again. Terry Sapp told our Taking Action reporter Jackie Callaway she simply could not get service of any kind from her carrier.