(Reuters) – U.S. mobile phone users have likely paid hundreds of millions of dollars in unauthorized charges “crammed” onto their bills, according to a report released by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday to coincide with a hearing on the topic.
“Scammers figured out a way to beat the system,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, said at the hearing. “They have been absolutely relentless in doing so.”
The cramming often originates with small companies that provide celebrity gossip, ring tones or similar services.
But the money is collected by cellphone providers, including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile US Inc or Sprint, owned by SoftBank Corp, which typically keep 30 to 40 percent of the revenue, the staff report found.