A scammer claiming to be from your cable provider offers a significant discount in exchange for large upfront payment, won't take credit card payments

Scam Alert: Don't Fall for Fake Discounted Cable Service Offer
Image: Pixabay
Updated: March 13, 2017

If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be with your cable provider about drastically lowering your monthly bill, beware—chances are it's a scam.

According to the scam alert released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are targeting unsuspecting consumers across the country by impersonating cable companies and taking advantage of subscribers' eagerness to save money.

Here's How the Scam Works

You get a call, and it's someone claiming to be a representative from your cable provider's "loyal rewards" program. The caller offers you a significant discount on your monthly cable service.

The caller claims that, for a total of just $80 per month, you can get all the premium cable channels, along with phone and broadband internet service. This package would typically run subscribers well over $100/month.

So what's the catch? The caller then tells you that before you can take advantage of the supposed deal, you have to pay $480 for six months of the discounted rate upfront. Further, you're told that the "representative" can't take credit card payments. If you want the deal, you have to use a prepaid debit card.

Making the ruse even more believable, the scammers often have personal information about the consumers they target, such as address, phone number and current level of cable service.

Don't be fooled! This is nothing more than an attempt by a con artists to steal your money. Once you purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the card information to the caller, that money is gone forever. Using a prepaid card is no different than handing over cash—and just as untraceable.

According to the BBB, Comcast is currently the most commonly impersonated cable provider when it comes to this scam, but that is sure to expand to others as the scam grows.

To avoid becoming the victim of this or other utility imposter scams, remember the following tips:

  1. Prepaid debit cards are a red flag
  2. If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer only, this is a huge warning sign. Your actual utility company will accept a check, credit card or online banking transfer.

  3. Don't cave to pressure to pay immediately
  4. If you feel pressured to provide immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your cable/utility bill. This will ensure that you are speaking to a real representative.

  5. Never allow anyone into your home
  6. Even if it's to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes, or appliances, never let anyone inside your unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.

References: BBB