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Wireless carriers settle phony billing charges with Arizona customers

PHOENIX — Two giants among wireless carriers are going to have pay Arizona nearly a half-million dollars as a settlement for defrauding customers.

Sprint and Verizon had been accused of charging customers for third-party cellphone services they never requested. A statement from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office Tuesday said the fake charges would include premium text message subscriptions for horoscopes and sports scores.

The practice is called “cramming.”

“It is unlawful under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act to cram bills with unauthorized third-party charges,” Attorney General Mark Brnovich said in the statement.

The two companies will pay $158 million to the 50 states and District of Columbia.

Verizon customers in Arizona will split $259,107 while Sprint customers will divide $194,289.