Pay TV Service Calls: Why You Need to Be Careful

Tilted view of satellite dish on white multi-story house --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

A service call from a cable or satellite TV company has become a routine event in the United States, even if it sometimes causes some angst if the ‘cable guy’ arrives a bit late. However, there have been two recent incidents that should remind everyone to exercise some caution when letting a service technician through your door.

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The Better Business Bureau reports that numerous Comcast customers, particularly in Virginia, have recently received calls from people claiming to be from the cable operator and requesting access to their homes.

However, Comcast says it’s not making the calls, and adds that there are no known service issues in the areas where their customers are getting the fake calls, according to WSLS.com.

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It’s unclear why the scammers are making the calls, but the Better Business Bureau fears that they either are planning to forcibly rob the customers upon entry, or pretending to do some service work and then demand payment.

There are no reports that the fake technicians have actually been able to pull off their scam, but Comcast and the Better Business Bureau are warning everyone not to let any so-called pay TV representative in the door unless you called for him or her in the first place.

“Scammers love to use familiarity in an attempt to gain our trust. By using the name of a local, widely used company, the scammers appear to be within our community and customers may be more likely to believe their story,” says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of the western Virginia BBB. “Never blindly trust a cold call from a company you do business with that is requesting information or access to your property. It is vital to contact the company independently to verify the request.”

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In a separate case, WREG.com reports that an actual DIRECTV technician in Memphis, Tennessee has recently been arrested for groping two women while on two different installation calls.

“He was supposed to install satellite TV service, but instead of doing the job, two different women say Josh German grabbed and groped them. Both women let them into their homes because they had called for the installation,” WREG.com writes.

In this case, the women had called for the technician, but it should remind everyone that it might be wise to have more than one person at home for a service call, if you can. The overwhelming majority of pay TV technicians are honest, hard-working people, but don’t forget they are still strangers to you.  And when you let a stranger through the door, you never know for sure what might happen.

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Two people at home will more likely deter a rogue technician (or salesman, or any other worker) from doing something he or she should not.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (529 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

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