Today is a "snow day" for me; my work is closed and classes cancelled. But instead of being able to enjoy the day, I was pretty surprised when my family got the phone bill in the mail. It had a $57 dollar charge on it and I didn't understand what it was for - it just had several different names and numbers listed. What makes it worse is that this is the last few bills have had previous charges. My father looked at at it, and he said that between the local calls, (they don't have long distance), and DSL service they had there's no way the bill should have been that high in the past months either. But they didn't keep the bills to verify this, they just paid them and threw them away - today was the first time they ever actually really looked at the bill, most likely b/c we're all stuck inside with the snow.
So, they figured there wasn't anything we could do about the past bills, so my father called the phone company about this current bill. They told him that the charge was coming from a third party that had passed the charge onto them, so they passed it onto my family. My dad were a little upset that they accepted the charges without verifying the validity of them with him.
They directed him to the third party company - a group called Members Edge, where, after confusing my father will all the technical things they were saying, I took the phone and spoke to a very crass gentleman who told that I had completed a survey to win a Target gift card on October 25th at a certain time when I know I wasn't even on the computer, let alone even at my parents'. B/c I just moved back home last month, I had my own provider at a completely different company. It made no sense! I was a little shaken up and said "I don't remember this!" And the guy said "Just because you don't remember doesn't mean you didn't do it". They proceeded to tell me that I was being billed for some kind of web voicemail service that I had "signed up for". My question was - how were the 2 related? He never even answered me, just told me that they had all my personal information and I ended up hanging up on the jerk.
Afterwards, I went to the website, and it looked pretty fishy to me - pretty plain for a company that was boasting web voicemail, which is something that is gaining some popularity right now. So I googled Members Edge and found numberous complaints about them for similiar charges on Complaints.com and another website too.
My father's not going to pay the charge and if it continues, they're going to switch phone companies. The provider I had was great - I never had any problems with them, so they will most likely switch to that.
I just wanted to pass this on to all of you to tell you to please, please be careful. Anything you do on the internet that includes personal info is a way for these frauds to get a hold of you. I have no idea where they got my info - but for the most part, it's public knowledge, stuff that I put down on my loan applications for school. Check your phone bills closely - any bills for that matter - for charges that aren't valid and I hope no one has to deal with a similiar situation.
"It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong."