Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of hidden cell phone charges - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of hidden cell phone charges

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(WTOL) - We have a warning about a strange charge many cell phone users are finding on their monthly bills. The worst part is if you don't check your bill carefully, you could easily miss it.

Most of us feel our cell phone bills are too high. But how carefully have you gone over your bill in the past few months? It turns out you could have hidden charges on it that you shouldn't be paying.

Steve Orth noticed his cell phone bill getting higher and higher in recent months, so he called his carrier to see if there was any way to lower it. That's when he learned he was paying almost $20 a month for a premium texting service he knew nothing about.

"One of the sales representatives pointed out to me that I was receiving a third party charge. And she asked, 'Are you aware you have a third party charge?' And I said, 'What's that?'" said Orth.

Third party or premium text scams are becoming one of the biggest complaints about cell phone services, according to the tech blog CNET. Once you are signed up for premium texting, you are billed every month, until you notice it.

Orth never spotted the charges that cost between $10 and $20 a month.

"I checked my own records and it's been well over a year I've been receiving this," said Orth.

According to CNET, these mystery charges can be added to your bill when you text a special number to get sports alerts, participate in a game show, or give your cell phone number to participate in a survey.

If you start receiving strange texts, as Orth learned, don't just delete them.

"I would receive these benign texts from time to time, such as, 'Congratulations! You've earned 1,000 points toward...' and I'd get to the 'Congratulations! You've earned' and I'd delete it," explained Orth.

Instead, he should have contacted his carrier and asked that they be blocked, or reply to the text with "STOP."

"I really feel like I've been in some sort of piracy," said Orth.

Be sure to check your bills so you don't waste your money.

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