TV Promotion: Phone Scam Overview
Television services are surprisingly very expensive. According to the FCC, the average expanded basic service cost $64.41 in 2013. Many television providers offer generous discounts to Americans by bundling services together.
Sadly, a number of scam artists are getting in on the action too. They promise their victims a major discount on their services for an upfront fee. They actually don’t have any relationship to the television provider, so the customer will never get their free service after making a payment.
How Does the TV Promotion Phone Scam Work?
The scammers pretend to be representatives of a major television service provider, such as Comcast XFinity or DishTV. They ask if you want to save money on your cable bill. Most customers will be eager to hear more, so they try to lure them in with a false promotion.
The caller claims that you can order a year’s worth of service if you pay for the first six months. There are a few different ways they may ask you to make a payment.
There are many examples of this scam that can be found in our phone book. One user reported this experience that they had with a caller pretending to be from DirecTV:
(888) 406-9028: It appeared that it was a number from Directv calling me to tell me how I could reduce my Directv bill by bundling my directv, phone, and internet services. They stated that I must act within the next 24 hours and purchase an Amazon Card for $360.00 and then call 1-888-406-9028 and provide them the promo code of: DTV-062-197 to reduce my bill to $89.00 per month and receive a $100.00 gift certificate in return. Fortunately, I called Directv and AT&T and neither company was aware of the promotion.
The caller usually requests that their victims upload money to a prepaid credit card or pay via a gift card. This way the transaction can’t be traced.
How Can You Identify the Scam?
As tempting as TV promotions are, it’s important to be skeptical. Many of these calls are scams. Here are some warning signs to pay attention to.
They request you to prepay for free months.
Most television service providers don’t request prepayment for multiple months in advance. They don’t offer discounts for prepayment either. They charge fees on a month-to-month basis.
Check the service agreement and recent promotions from your service provider. If they conflict with the promotion, then it’s almost certainly a scam.
The payment requests seem suspicious.
You also need to be wary of any suspicious requests to make payments. TV service companies will never ask you to use a prepaid credit card or gift card to make a payment.
Don’t trust caller ID.
Your Caller ID may show the name of the television service provider. Don’t assume that means the caller is actually a representative of that company. The caller may have spoofed the company’s phone numbers to make their scam more believable.
How Do You Report the Scam?
People get calls from their television companies all the time, so it’s easy for them to fall for these scams. Even if you don’t fall for it, you should help warn others about it by reporting it to the FTC and leaving your feedback on the number online.