It’s hard to stroll down the street or even sit through a conference these days without most people around you on their phones. Nearly, 70% of all Americans now own smartphones. However, between mysterious charges, roaming charges and other things, America’s wireless carriers stuff so many hidden tricks and scams into their packages that it’s hard to figure out. A lot of the time, these crazy extras are unnecessary and make things more unclear. It often doesn’t appear to be fair when your phone carrier charges you for a promotion, or since you used your phone abroad rather than locally.
There’s no doubt that our phones have made numerous things in life a lot simpler, but when you have phone carriers that are trying to cheat you, how can you enjoy it?
If a phone carrier can take advantage of you, they will. So, you have to play it smart and beat them at their own game. If you want some good news, wireless service is not as bad as it used to be. Phone carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile have introduced many customer-friendly features. Some of these include no-contract agreements and bonuses for data that is unused. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean mysterious costs and infuriating rules have gone away completely. Here are the 15 scams from your phone carrier you shouldn’t fall for.
15. Subscriber fraud
Some carriers take part in subscriber fraud. Customer fraud is a side-shoot of identity theft. Most are not aware that it is one of the leading cell phone scams out there. These scams cost the business a projected $160 million a year and produce untold suffering to its victims.
So how does it work? Somebody swipes your personal information and opens a different cell phone account. This will all be done in your name. When this happens, it racks up huge bills that you’ll see in your mailbox.
14. Once a month Access Dues
At one point and time, during the two-year-plan era, phone carriers initially forced monthly access fees upon their customers. They did this to counterbalance the cost of offering a sponsored phone to clients who signed up for the service. Nowadays, every one of the key phone carriers offers phones at full price. However, some are broken up into once-a-month payments. With a trickle of exceptions, phone carriers don’t sell paid for phones any longer. So, it does not make sense that phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint still charge you between $25 and $50 a month. This is overcharging and something that we need to be careful about following.
13. Upgrade Charges
Yes, upgrade fees can be a scam. To protect your cell phone number, you are given an activation charge when you open a new line with a phone carrier. Nevertheless, when you upgrade to a new phone, some phone carriers make you pay again. They do this to make you obtain the new phone on the system plus put a little extra cash in their pockets. For example, Verizon and AT&T make you pay a $25 to upgrade the phone which is the same value as their activation payments. But why should you have to pay yet again? Obviously, this is a way for the phone carriers to get money. Be wise and ask questions when things look suspicious or just confusing.
12. Free Vacations and Prize Scams
“Congratulations! You’ve won a free vacation to Puerto Rico and a house! To get your reward…”
There’s a good chance, like a lot of things, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is. The free bonus, dream vacation, Six Flag trip, Caribbean cruise, etc. is all part of a common scam from phone carriers. What you’ve earned could change; nonetheless, the phone scammers still desire the same thing: your money and personal info.
An enormous red flag to look out for with these free trips/reward rip-offs is if they require you first to pay a small fee to gather your reward. If there is a chance that you’ve won something, then you would not need to pay for it.
Believe it or not, some phone carriers can get involved with phishing emails. They have a way of making it look as though they are from a certain corporation you typically do business with. Also, the email could tell you that service you now are getting is due to stop soon. The email can direct you to a deceiving website and requests you to offer information that is personal — for example your social security number or a credit card — so that your service can be continual. Some phone carriers can deceive many by doing this, so be on the lookout.
10. Using Social Engineering
Most might not have heard of social engineering, but it is something that needs to be discussed. Phone carriers can easily use it. This is when some individual sways you into thinking they are somebody they’re not at all. They trick you into disclosing confidential data – for example, passwords, bank account details, credit card information and more.
With that being said, it is wise to protect yourself. It’s always good to be distrustful and ask questions. If all else fails, request a callback number. Most of the time, if you ever pay more than you should have with your local phone bill, big time companies just apply it routinely to your next bill. There’s no need to call and handle any money back.
9. Worms, viruses and other malevolent programs
Some scamming phone carriers can attack your computer. Computer viruses, worms and other malicious programs can end or take your data and information that is personal. Without your knowledge, phone carrier hackers can use these viruses to collect your personal information and grab your money, identity and credit.
Even though most websites do not instigate these infections or viruses, countless websites have been negotiated without the knowledge of the owner of the website. To protect yourself make sure you reduce the possibility that your computers will be infected by these damaging programs by making sure their anti-virus software is up-to-date.
8. Worldwide Roaming Dues
Getting charged extra to use a foreign carrier’s system that your phone carrier has linked a contract with is pointless. Especially given that Google and T-Mobile have confirmed that they are not obligated to have this done. The Uncarrier allows you to utilize your domestic text, talk and data allowances overseas at no additional cost. However, it is done on condition.
The condition is that you’re on one of its qualifying Simple Choice plans. This plan also has to have 3GB of data or more to qualify. Google’s Project Fi allows you to utilize data globally at the same $10-per-GB cost as you would locally. This also involves letting you send unlimited texts worldwide and to make calls overseas at 20 cents for every minute.
7. Unlimited data that’s not unlimited
Phone carriers have a way of not giving you the full picture. Some phone carriers charge loads of money for data plans that are unlimited, but then again, those plans come with cautions that your speeds could be adjusted after 22GB to 23GB of using it all, but all of that depends on the phone carrier. Even though this may affect only a small proportion of subscribers, if you’re promised something, then it makes sense that you should get exactly what you’re giving your money for. Yes, unlimited plans are slowly fading away, but if they’re available, phone carriers need to be able to provide subscribers what they’ve publicized.
6. Dreadful Overages
Rather than just preventing you from utilizing any more 4G LTE data, the moment you get to your once-a-month limit, some phone carriers attack you with overage dues for the bandwidth. Sadly, these charges are more than what people can bare. For example, Verizon and AT&T charge $10 for every GB and $15 for every GB that you use over your allowance. This can rapidly accumulate if you are downloading large files or streaming movies.
The key reason Verizon and AT&T go on to charge overages is merely for the reason that they can. However, the marketplace is moving in the direction of either controlling speeds after a client’s maximum has been hit, or charging the same rate for every gigabyte in spite of whether you’ve gone beyond your allowance.
5. Not reading the Fine Print
Phone carriers know that you are not going to read the fine print. Even if you do, they know you are not going to understand it. Do you recognize why End User License Agreements are so disliked? Because they’re long-winded, boring and filled of legal-ese. As we just mentioned, nobody likes to read them. Phone carriers most of the time count on that, and it works. You’ve got to put on those glasses and read the fine print, people. Your currency is at stake at the instant. Hear it loud and clear. It’s extremely unusual that any fine print has ever returned money back to the client.
4. Being Way too Nice
One phone carrier scam is to get you not to dispute an issue. Sorry to have to say this, but you can’t be so sweet. For example, Sam who has a phone, does not dispute the fact that his phone carrier incorrectly leased him the phone instead of selling it to him. Sam could have caused a situation over the unwelcome data plan on the phone. Instead, he will wind up paying an excessive amount of money to lease a phone that he wished to own. So, do you see how the phone carrier can take advantage of someone that does not speak up?
3. Not monitoring your bill and other online activity
One of the biggest scam phone carriers employ is to charge extra things on your account without you even knowing it. They know that some of us don’t check our bills thoroughly. Every single large phone carrier has a website where a person can create an account and check their bill, data usage, and other particulars. Make sure you set it up the instant you get home with that new phone. Log in regularly. Review what your phone carrier is charging you for, and the understand why. Get to know what’s supposed to be normal and what’s not, and get prepared for any surprises.
2. Not Asking Enough Questions
One scam is to get you not to ask enough questions, or better yet, no questions at all. In some of the phone carriers’ eyes, the less you know, the better. Never sign on the dotted line unless you are sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Push yourself to ask questions if you don’t understand. Sometimes, you must act like you are a lawyer. If you must, ask the same question in similar ways to confirm the replies are acceptable, then do it. This is not the time to be shy when your phone carrier is trying to trick you. Be strong and take the necessary action.
1. Saying Anything is Free
The biggest trick in the world is making you believe that something is free when it is not. Mostly the ones where you get a free or enormously “subsidized” iPhone or smartphone if you sign up for a contract for two years.
“Get the newest Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy phone for the low price of $100! Purchase One get One free.”
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It is also one of the most typical misleading attempts you could fall for. There is not a cell phone offered by a wireless carrier that costs $0. Nothing in life is for free but the air you breathe.
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