Saturday, May 8, 2010

Phone Bill Blues

During the summer of 2005, I began noticing charges on our monthly phone bills that weren't ours. These charges were immediately noticeable on our bills because they were from AT&T, whereas our service was through Verizon. Every time they turned up, I immediately called the toll-free number provided and got the AT&T charges removed, but they when they kept appearing and actually increased in number, I began trying to get AT&T to do something about getting them stopped for good. It took me over 6 months and a great many phone calls (including long periods on hold!) to finally put a stop to these charges, so it was a major hassle to have to deal with.

Over the course of all those phone calls and discussions with numerous AT&T and Verizon representatives, I was able to learn a little bit about what was going on. I was told all of the calls in question were made with an AT&T calling card that had been issued to "Panhandle Groundwater Conservation Distribution". (The calls being fraudulently charged to our number finally stopped when AT&T cancelled this card.) Many of the calls in question had been made from a payphone at the Armstrong County Courthouse in White Deer, Texas (a place I've never been that is near Amarillo). While these calls had been made to locations all over Texas, a number of them were made to either pharmacies or local physicians. Other than the local doctors and a few general place names, I did not recognize any of the callers or callees.

I'm posting examples of some of these bills here now because I feel the need to protect myself. At the end of one of my recent posts here, my ex-husband suddenly tried to falsely tie me to Amarillo, TX for some reason. (See the comments at the bottom of my "Cinderella Gone Wrong" post. I'm positive about these comments being from my ex- because of both the writing style and the content.) I'm concerned because the phone calls that were falsely charged to our number show signs of being related to drug trafficking. I'm also concerned because one of my children received an extremely important and personal letter they weren't expecting today that happened to be from Amarillo. This letter arrived having clearly been opened and tampered with illegally by persons unknown.

My phone bill blues plus Amarillo (the Spanish word for yellow) probably equal a lot of green for someone, but it's not me. No doubt someone thought it would be amusing to illegally charge these calls to my (unlisted) number.

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