Fat Finger Dialing


Fat finger dialing is a new scheme that can result in consumers paying several times more than expected.  The scheme goes something like this: You place a collect call from a public phone or payphone, intending to use a service like 1-800-CALL-ATT or 1-800-COLLECT.  But you misspell or hit an incorrect button when dialing.  You accidentally dial something like 1-800-CALLLAT.  You get connected to the party you wished to call, but the phone company that connects you is not the one you thought you were using.  Instead, it is a company that secured 800 numbers similar to well-known ones (i.e., a company secures the number *800-CALLLAT*).  The company is banking on the possibility that you might accidentally misdial your intended number.  If this happens, you are probably unaware you are using a different phone carrier than the one you intended to use because you don't know you misdialed.  Often, the company won't identify itself to you or the person receiving the collect call before connecting the call.  See FCC consumer alert online at


If you suspect you're a victim of this scheme, contact the phone company that charged you for the call in question.  The company's number should be listed on your phone bill.

In some cases, FCC rules may also protect you.  FCC has simplified its complaint procedures with a new Web page entitled Filing a Complaint with the FCC is EASY at