Everyone wants to save money on their television bills, which in some cases can exceed $200 a month when you factor in streaming services and internet.
Unfortunately, scammers pose as employees of your cable or satellite company—all to get your personal information or credit card numbers.
Tim Hoff’s quiet moments are repeatedly interrupted by phone calls about his TV bill.
“One day it’s going to be Spectrum, the next day it’s going to be DirecTV,” he said.
And his phone’s caller ID often shows the company’s name in what’s known as a “spoofed” call.
He says callers promise to lower his bill if he just gives them a little bit of personal information like bank account numbers.
“They tell me, ‘We’re offering a discount on your TV.’ So I can see how you could afford that If you want lower prices give them your information Hoff said.
The caller can be friendly or threatening
More and more people are getting calls like this, usually offering you a rebate or rebate, although they can also threaten and claim you’re behind on your payments and getting disconnected.
Mike Pedelty, a spokesman for Spectrum, told us that when you first hear about an issue with your account over the phone, it’s likely a fraudulent call.
“If you think you’re behind on your bill,” he said, “and you suddenly get this call, that’s a warning sign. We wouldn’t call, and we certainly don’t bother customers.”
Adam Levin, cybersecurity expert and host of the What the Hack podcast, says customers should also be wary of strange payment prompts like making a purchase and providing gift card numbers.
“Vouchers are the same as cash. People need to understand that,” he said. “There’s really no way to track it, and there’s no way to retrieve it.”
Cable and satellite providers are hoping that a new technology called STIR/SHAKEN will soon stop these fake calls, making it impossible for scammers to put fake phone numbers in your caller ID.
But the rollout takes time.
If you get a strange call, Pedelty suggests you hang up and call the customer service number on your bill (not the number that called you).
When Tim Hoff does that, he said, “They say it’s not us, it’s a scam call.”
He wants you to know that too, so you don’t waste your money.
Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).
Like” John Matarese Money on Facebook
Follow John on Instagram @johnmataresemoney
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
For more consumer news and savings tips, visit www.dontwasteyourmoney.com