Better Call Behnken: Tampa small business finally off hook for fraudulent Sprint account

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa small business ended up with a Sprint bill for five cell phones, but the business doesn’t even have an account with the phone provider.

Melissa Ritter, of Bay Area Trackhoe Inc., has been dealing with this mess since June. She said she has spent countless hours on hold and pleading with the phone giant for help.

Ritter says Sprint told her she needed a police report before the phone company’s fraud department would investigate. Law enforcement told her she couldn’t file a report without the account number and cell phone number. Sprint told her they could not release that information, because she didn’t know security questions, set up by the crook.

“The hold times are ridiculous,” Ritter said. “This has been so frustrating.”

Then came the notice this week from Sprint’s collections attorney. The business owed $1,489 on these fraudulent phones.

Ritter turned to 8 On Your Side for help and in less than an hour, the situation was resolved.

Sprint confirmed the fraud and let Ritter off the hook. Ritter says she was told the crook opened this account at a Tampa store and walked in with her business tax ID number and gave her husband’s name.

Ritter said she is relieved this frustration is finally over.

“Whether you spend two hours a day or you spend four hours a day, it’s working on something that’s not necessarily benefiting your company,” Ritter said. “You’re trying to protect your company.”

A representative with Sprint sent this statement:

“Sprint is not alone in the wireless industry among carriers that have been affected by these types of fraudulent activities. Our teams are working proactively to identify these cases and address them before customers are affected.  In cases where this activity does occur, Sprint encourages customers to reach out to contact Care representatives for assistance. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience Ms. Ritter experienced while trying to resolve this matter. This is not typical of the experience our customers have when they call us. It’s our goal that after we can confirm fraudulent calls were placed on an account, the customer will not be held responsible for any related charges. “

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