Rip Offs Alert: Website "Cramming" Scam
By Shelley Lockwood
This scam is usually targeted at small businesses.
You get a call or an e-mail offering you a free website design and free hosting for 30 days.
They ask you for your company details for inclusion in the website. Some take your billing information and advise that unless you cancel you will be billed monthly after the trial period has passed. Others say you won't be billed at all, unless you call to continue the service after 30 days.
Either way, if it's a scam you'll be billed on your phone bill. The description of the charges are usually vague, referring to some kind of service. These can be easily missed on a lengthy business telephone bill.
To add insult to injury, if the website is developed at all it's usually of very poor quality.
We tend not to worry if we haven't given out a credit card number. This used to mean you didn't have to worry about fraudulent billing.
If a physical invoice was to arrive for something we didn't order, not a problem, we just didn't pay it.
What's important to realize these days is services and products can now be billed on your phone bill. Your telephone number in the hand of a scammer can be as valuable to them as your credit card or banking information.
There are legitimate offers of 30 day trial period websites. If you are interested in trying one out, before proceeding make sure you research the company first. A corporate website for your business is an important tool. This decision shouldn't be taken lightly.