Thursday, April 09, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was really looking forward to writing a post about how stunned and amazed I was that so many of y'all commented so very kindly on my new profile photo and why I finally updated it however, in Kay's World "the best laid plans of mice and men -- and The Kay -- gang aft agley", to paraphrase Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Instead, I'm issuing a warning to y'all -- hence the above title. Yesterday I got online to pay my utility bills (I've become a paperless kind of gal) and got pretty cranky when my AT&T bill had an extra $36.99 on it. This month is tight as hell as I've mentioned here. I paid the damned bill in bad humor and after I paid the others, I got on the phone to AT&T and hollered about the extra charges. It turns out that they were bogus charges was from a "crammer" and AT&T knows all about them.

And when I called the numbers for the offender that the CSR gave me, I was told that someone gave my phone number and name to get email and fax service. I asked what address they gave and was told that she couldn't give me that. She got an earful as y'all can well believe. She finally gave me the confirmation numbers I needed for AT&T to take them off my bill. I called AT&T back and gave them the info and asked more questions. She credited the $36.99 and told me to report it as identity theft. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!

I went online and did some checking on this firm -- Enhanced Business Services -- and discovered that in 2001, they were investigated and censured by the Federal Trade Commission. A lot of good that did. You can read about it here and it is still going on today despite agreements to the contrary. I think their corporate officers should be jailed.

I called the Federal Trade Commission and filed a complaint and they in turn told me to contact one of the three major credit bureaus so they could put a security freeze on my accounts and inform the other two who would do the same. It seems they have an agreement to keep each other informed in such cases. I was told to file a complaint with my local law enforcement so guess where I'll be tomorrow morning? I also have to file complaints with the Ohio Public Utilities Commission as well. This is really a lot of work.

Oh yeah, in Ohio it is a minimum 5th degree felony to "intentionally use another person's identifying information to fraudulently obtain credit, property or services." I think these bozos owe me big time but judging from the government's attitude, it won't happen. That they are still in business despite having done the same damned thing before.

How many people people (you?) don't pay attention to a ($10-$15) smallish difference in their phone bill? Since my income is so tight, I do but there was a time when I didn't. They got greedy with me so I went through the roof. By using my listed phone number (my address isn't listed) and last name, they slammed this with AT&T's silent acquiescence. Scary, huh? And given the way my life has been, I really needed more drama. Right. Sigh. And y'all know how much I love dealing with bureaucracy!

I am warning y'all. Watch your phone bills. You could be next!!!!!!!! I'm off to bed and going to pull the covers over my head and ask God to make it all go away. I think running away from home sounds really good but it doesn't fit my budget.

Happy Blogging!!!!!!!


  1. I'm sorry didn't notice the new profile photo. I mostly read your posts on google. It's a great picture of you. Of course I've never met you so I have to assume someone hasn't stolen your profile. *G*
    This whole identity thing and bogus charges on bills is getting out of hand. Wonder who will look out for me when I can't look out for myself. I hope I've taught my son something about being careful with his $$'s. He's about to take the plunge and get his own apartment, he'll learn fast now.

  2. Good for you Kay in taking steps to go after those crooks. We always check all our statements carefully.When using the convenience of online paying identity theft is always in the back of my mind.I take good security measures but you never know.

  3. Thanks for the detailed info. We always check our bills very carefully!

  4. I did notice the new photo. Just hadn't got around to commenting on it yet. I am such a procrastinator!! These bozos would not get far with me. I called my cell phone company when I noticed a $0.25 charge on a service I never use. Some company had texted my mother about a service she had not asked for, did not want, and wouldn't use. It turned out to be one of those miserable things where they assume that you want it unless you take active measures to refuse. Now we have the texting feature turned off and the only ones we get are the ones from Verizon telling me the bill is ready for viewing (which is free).

  5. Wow, that's scary and we have had similar things with other accounts. Everybody needs to really watch the scams. What got me when it happened to us is they didn't even want to go after the thieves. Too much work and too hard; so they get away with it and yet they would put a kid in jail for stealing a candy bar. Something is seriously wrong here.

    Your new profile picture is very nice, pretty photo, good color.

  6. Oh my gosh, Kay, it's unbelievable. Thank goodness you've discovered it, hopefully?, early on and take the necessary steps to stop it before it could get worse. We don't have AT&T but I guess it could happen anywhere. Thanks for the warning! The best defense is check your banking accounts every day or two online as we do. We watch our retirement pennies like a barnyard bulldog. Oh, and I still like your picture.

  7. I noticed your new picture yesterday, but didn't get a chance to tell you. YOU LOOK GREAT KAY! I love it.

    Honestly, when it rains, it pours. Thank God you were on top of this. Of course there are reasons you were. This stuff really pisses me off...just like you. It happens more than any of us are aware of. Identity theft! It does take time and energy; and it's frustrating to deal with. I'm a little paranoid about it, but how can you NOT be. I check all my statements. I shred all my old receipts, etc. Yeah, I guess I am paranoid. Looks like you did everything you were suppose to sweetie. I'm proud of you. ~Joy

  8. Nancy5:18 PM

    Dear Kay,

    The new picture is lovely. The red color looks so nice with your dark hair.

    Good for you for taking the time to fight City Hall and win!

  9. With a hasty click of the mouse you can obligate yourself for an unwanted charge only to find that, although listed on the web site, there is no customer service, no place to complain, or any idea who these scammers are. You almost have to be your own lawyer these days.

    Even when you are able to get things straightened out it's such a hassle and who needs the stress?

    Good for you for not letting them get away with it.

  10. Kay, so sorry this happened to you. Glad you watch your bills and caught it early. do you remember when that government lap top was stolen a few years ago? We were in there and had to do what you did, notify everyone, put hold on accts etc. I was not a happy camper and like you I wanted to pull the covers over my head. Hang in there kiddo :)

  11. A big thumbs up on the photo. Change is good (sometimes). Glad you ferreted out the extra charges on your bill. I got something like that a few months ago -- this'll make you laugh. In the interminable time it took waiting on hold for someone to speak to me, I browsed through some old e-mails and stumbled upon the "notice" from them that they were switching over to "advance" billing, so that the charges you see are for the month to come. So this particular bill gave me the previous month as well as part of the upcoming one. When my "customer service" rep finally picked up the line, my suspicions were confirmed. It was nice to go back to the customary charges the next month.

    Big thumbs down to ID theft. Been there twice. Hope the rest of April is good to ya.

  12. I have called numerous times about my phone bill. The recordings drive me crazy. Are computers running the whole world?

    Your situation is a great reminder that we need to read the small print, and try to account for all the extra charges that are tacked onto bills. Good luck as you work through this.

  13. You go, girl!!! I'll be sure to check my phone bills carefully. You already know I love your photo!


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