One of scammers’ most common tactics is to impersonate someone you trust. BBB Scam Tracker (BBB.org/ScamTracker) is getting reports of scammers impersonating cable company representatives. Con artists claim to offer a great deal on your service, but it’s really a way to trick unsuspecting customers into shelling out hundreds of dollars for nothing.

How the Scam Works

You receive an unsolicited call offering you reduced rates on your cable bill. Speaking to the “customer service representative” may be quite convincing. Many scammers use the same hold music as big-name cable companies and duplicate a company’s caller menu. When speaking with the representative, they seem very professional. The caller explains that the company is offering a special promotion. If you pay for a few months upfront, you can receive discounted monthly rates for the months that follow.

Then, things get fishy. Instead of using the payment information your cable company already has, they ask you to purchase pre-paid debit cards to make the up-front payment. Don’t do it! If you purchase the cards and send the information to the caller, your money will be lost for good.

How to Avoid the Cable Impersonator Con

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Never make payments with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. 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. Remember, legitimate companies almost always accept checks and credit cards as the primary means of payment.

For More Information

For information about scams impersonating your cable company, see these resources from Direct TVCox CableVerizon, 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.

Source: BBB.org