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What You Should Know About Telephone Fraud

MANY CHOICES, MORE COMPETITION

The telecommunications landscape has dramatically changed since the days of "Ma Bell". Gone are the days when one telephone company handled all of our telephone needs.

As a consumer, you now have choices as to who will provide your local and long-distance telephone service. And this opportunity to choose may mean lower prices. Competition promises many benefits.

But as competition for telephone service services grows, so does the potential for fraudulent activity. And for consumers, this activity comes in the form of "Slamming" and "Cramming."

BEEN SWITCHED WITHOUT PERMISSION?

"Slamming" is the unauthorized switching of a person or end user's local and/or long distance telephone service. You've been slammed if your local or long distance telephone service has been changed without your knowledge or permission.

PAYING FOR SOMETHING YOU DIDN'T ORDER?

"Cramming" is the billing for products or services never ordered. If you are being billed for something that was never authorized by you or someone you know, such as Caller ID, Internet access, or an additional telephone line, or any other telecommunications related service or product, it's likely that you've been crammed.

PROTECT YOURSELF!

  • You can "freeze" your existing local or long-distance carrier. Placing a freeze on your service will prevent unscrupulous companies from tampering with your account. Contact your local telephone service provider for information.
  • Review your monthly telephone statements carefully for billing errors and service provider changes. If you see anything unusual, report them to your local service provider.
  • If your telephone service has been changed without your permission, inform the provider listed on your statement of the unauthorized change. Then contact your local phone company to verify that your problem has been corrected.
  • When signing your name to any type of sweepstakes, promotional offer, or contest, read the fine print. You could be giving authorization to make changes to your telephone service.

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU'VE BEEN SLAMMED OR CRAMMED?

  • Inform your local telephone company that the changes made to your account were not authorized, and that you'd like to be reconnected to your previous service provider or to have the unordered services or products removed from your account.
  • If you are unable to resolve the issue with your local service provider, you may contact the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at 1-800-342-8359 to file a formal complaint, or you may file a complaint electronically.