(BBB) – Have you received a call from someone claiming that they can save money on your cable bill? Think twice! That deal might be a scam.
The Better Business Bureau of North Alabama received a report from a consumer that someone called stating they were with AT&T and had a special discount for senior citizens. They offered to save the woman $30 per month on her DIRECTV service for the next two years.
The caller then asked the woman to turn all her TVs off while on the phone with them. Since they would be saving her $720, the caller explained that the woman would have to send them a $212.37 check or money order to Direct Upgrade in Philadelphia, Penn.
The woman noted the caller ID displayed a phone number with a 256-area code listed as CCC DD. However, the caller gave her a callback number with a 716-area code.
The BBB identified the original call number belonged to a nursing home in Hanceville, AL. The callback number was not listed in the BBB’s system.
The woman called AT&T, and they told her this situation is an ongoing scam. The BBB made sure the woman verified with AT&T that no changes would be made to her account.
The BBB offers the following tips to avoid the cable impersonator scam:
- Be cautious when answering unsolicited calls or emails. Legitimate companies that you already do business with may call you, but they won’t pressure you to pay in a new way.
- When in doubt, verify special deals with your cable company. If you are unsure about a promotional offer you’ve been presented with, get the customer service number from your cable company’s official website or your latest bill. Call the company directly to make sure the offer is real.
- If someone shows up at your doorstep, verify their identity. If you weren’t expecting a visit, ask the person for their ID and then call your cable company to verify that they are an employee.
- Never make payments with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. Many times scammers prefer these payment methods because there is nothing you can do to get your money back. Unlike debit or credit cards, successful wire transfers and prepaid cards can’t be contested later.
For information about scams impersonating your cable company, see these resources from DIRECTV, Cox Cable, Verizon, and Xfinity. For more ways to avoid utility scams, see the BBB Tip: Utility Imposter Scam and visit BBB.org/AvoidScams.
If you’ve been the victim of a similar scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your first-hand experience can help other consumers recognize scammers’ tactics before it’s too late.