Has your cell phone been crammed?

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Last week’s post mentioned that the Federal Trade Commission reviewed more than one hundred mobile shopping apps and found that prior to download, none of the apps offered consumers protection against Internet fraud or provided information about laws protecting consumers.This week the FTC focuses on telephone cramming and how consumers can avoid it. To see if your mobile phone company has overcharged you for unauthorized services, visit www.ftc.gov/articles/0183-mystery-phone-charges. Unscrupulous companies use cramming to illegally add service charges to your phone bill that you didn’t order or use which are then passed on to you by your telephone company or telco. These charges may look like charges for ringtones, daily horoscopes or love tips. These charges may appear only once or may occur monthly such as a Min Use Fee, Activation or Subscription charges.To avoid these charges, the FTC recommends consumers routinely check all charges to the monthly bill. If some charges are suspect, contact your carrier to have the charges removed. If the carrier, ie Verizon, A T & T, or another carrier refuses to delete the charges, contact the FTC at 1 877 FTC HELP or 1 877 382 4357. To lessen the possibility of cramming, never enter the mobile phone number on unsecured websites. Unsolicited text messages may be a sign that someone has crammed the account. Contact the telco. Ask the telco what services it provides to block third parties from placing charges on the account. All this help is a free service from your government paid for by your taxes. Some big government services are good.The website PC World, www.pcworld.com/ recently posted an article about canvass fingerprinting, a method for tracking Internet users across the web. Although this privacy invasion is easy to fix according to the site, most web users may not know how to do it. The specific article may be accessed at www.pcworld.com/article/2458280/canvass-fingerprinting-tracking-is-sneaky-but-easy-to-halt.html. The article reports that this canvass fingerprinting substitutes for tracking cookies that some retailers use to send unwanted ads to consumers. The company AdThis tested this code widget on more than 5,000 websites to see how it worked before offering the widget to Internet advertisers. The widget which works with Java can be blocked by installing AdBlock or DoNotTrackMe. It can be a dangerous world out there, people.On a somewhat different note, the website www.fair.org,, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, reported that the major news outlets do not think that poverty is worth reporting. The study looked at ABC, CBS and NBC for a 14 month period, 1/1/13 to 2/28/14, and examined stories on the nightly news that mentioned poverty. The major network news programs run 22 minutes of news content during each 30 news program. News departments devoted just 2.7 seconds of the 22 minutes to segments where poverty was mentioned.. The report can be accessed at www.fair.org/millions-in-poverty-get-less-tv-coverage-than-482-billionaires. Specifically, only 23 segments mentioning poverty aired during the 14 month period. During the same period, however, news networks aired four times as many segments that mentioned the word “billionaire” or 82 segments in total.This may explain why although Yates County tied for fourth place for the lowest county unemployment rate in New York, Yates County has one of the highest poverty rates at 16% of any county in New York State. One can only hope that regional or network news organizations may come to believe that our poor are more newsworthy than billionaires. Donald Trump anyone?Prostate cancer diagnoses may only be a sniff away. Two websites recently reported that prostate cancer was detected using odors composed of organic chemicals released in urine. In one case reported by www.medscape.com/viewarticle/824859, an electronic device, Chempro 100 eNose, has the potential to add to current diagnostic methods by identifying benign prostatic hyperplasia with a sensitivity of 78 percent in 15 patients whose cancers were confirmed by biopsy. According to researchers the machine performance matches that of PSA results and are achieved more quickly.In a second article, specially trained dogs sniffed out prostate cancers by detecting organic chemicals released in urine. The success rate of the dogs, however, beat the machine by 20 percentage points with a success rate of 98 percent. The entire article may be read at www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277012.php. Well guys, urologists may soon bring a sniffer machine or a pooch into the examining room the next time you need a PSA. Oh joy.