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Upper Macungie Township Police Department
Thursday June 10th, 2010 :: 10:26 a.m. EDT


*Cramming-Informational Message*

Dear Upper Macungie, Maxatawny, and Topton Crime Watch members,

When’s the last time you checked your phone bill?

Perhaps it’s time you did just that. Recently, a Maxatawny Township resident reported to BLRPD that she had received several emails from “” stating that she had joined their online dieting service, and as a result, she was being billed $15.00 a month. Here’s the tricky part, though- she was being billed through her Verizon phone account. This is called CRAMMING, and it basically constitutes unauthorized third party billing through your phone account. According to writer Ron Burely, author of Unscrewed: The Consumer’s Guide to Getting What You Paid For, “Your telephone number has become a charge account-but absent the security of a password, PIN, or signature, as you have with a credit or debit card.” Judging by the accounts that I have read online, many people have become victims of this scam simply because they failed to review their own phone bills. Unfortunately, due to the incredibly high amount of identity theft and security breaches in the financial and Internet world, we may never know how our Maxatawny victim’s personal information was shared or how she was registered for this service.

So what can I do to prevent this? Burley suggests contacting your phone carrier and requesting that all third-party billing be blocked. A list of contact numbers can be found here:

AT&T: 800-288-2747
Comcast: 800-266-2278
Verizon: 800-837-4966

Upper Macungie Township Police Department
37 Grim Road
Breinigsville, PA 18031

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 484-661-5911

Peter Nickischer
Criminal Investigations/ Crime Prevention

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