On our 1/16/2007 Verizon phone bill, we were billed on separate page under bill heading "Other Providers," for spurious services provided by OAN Services, Inc.
I had never heard of this company, so I read the bill and learned that a call was made at 7:27 the day after Christmas on a holiday. This made the information even more suspect.
The billing was "on behalf of 'Calling 10 15 15 800'," which company I had never heard of either.
The call was supposedly to Directory Assistance, at 101 515-8000. I have never heard of a 101 area code or toll free code. It looked completely fake, but there it was on my Verizon bill. I trust Verizon doe snot make such mistakes in general so I checked further and it does not appear anyone was either awake or at home at that time on that day.
If I were to use Directory Assistance it would have been to use 800-FREE-411 or the Verizon information number. We seldom use Directory Assistance on our home phone, having a phone book and on-line access to Yellow Pages.
I was charged a USF Carrier Admin Fee of $1.65 in addition to the Directory Assistance charge of $5.49, for a grand total of $7.14!
This was purportedly for one (1) call. Preposterous!
When I contacted Verizon to protest the fraudulent charge I was put on hold and then I was forwarded to someone in Verizon who could assist me. When the phone was finally answered after several minutes I indicated that I wanted to report a scam by OAN. The person who answered told me it is not a scam sir and asked me why I was calling. I immediately had a suspicion I was no longer dealing with Verizon and I asked Are you with Verizon. I was told no I am with OAN. So Verizon customer service had simply patched me in to the OAN service center.
I said I wanted the charges removed. She told me they would have to send me a check by mail and that it would take 10 days to get the check. In the meantime I am required to pay this amount on my Verizon bill.
When I asked how this could have happened the woman said that someone probably mis-dialed the phone when dialing an 800 number. That did not sound right to me but I asked how I could stop it from happening again. She said she could block our number from this service and I assume that she did at that point.
Coincidentally, my office received a junk fax the same day. There was a number at the bottom which was to be called to remove our office number from such faxes in the future. We always wonder if that will work or make it worse but in any case we always call the number and it seems to have reduced the volume significantly.
What was interesting is that when we called this number it said that the 866 number was no longer a valid number and we should call 10 15 15 800 to make the call. Having just been through the OAN scam I recognized the issue and did not call that number. However, I wonder if that fax was a scam to try and get people to call that OAN number just to run up fraudulent directory assistance charges.
I hope someone stops these people from pulling this scam. Although OAN says it is not a scam I consider anyone charging $7.14 for one directory assistance call a complete and total scam.
Santa Barbara, California