When I received my most recent Verizon phone bill, I was surprised to see a charge of $14.95 to ILD Teleservices Inc. I had no idea what the company was or what the charge was for. I looked back over my recent bills. I am embarrassed to report that the charge had been appearing on my bills for several months. A quick search of the Web showed me that I am not alone. (See, for example, here and here.)

There is a happy ending to this story. When I called ILD, the customer service rep immediately agreed to credit all the charges I had paid. But I am troubled by how this got on my bill in the first place. When I asked about that, I was told that someone I never heard of gave my phone number as the billing number when signing up for a service that provides dial-up Internet access. That suggests that anyone out there can just pick up anyone else’s phone number and use it for billing.

Can this be true? Are there no stronger protections built into our phone accounts? I am glad that ILD agreed to credit my account, but I would hope it and Verizon would take steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening to others.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.