Law enforcement in a small Kentucky town are warning DIRECTV subscribers of a recent phone scam there that promises phony service upgrades in return for a credit card number. However, in past years, there was a similar scam in other markets which could mean criminals are using it again nationwide to bilk satellite customers.
WKYT-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, reports scammers claiming to be from DIRECTV are calling the satcaster’s subscribers in Winchester, Kentucky, and offering a service upgrade. However, to get the ‘upgrade,” the subscriber must first give his or her credit card number.
“The Winchester Police Department wants to make the public aware of a possible scam involving individuals claiming to represent DIRECTV,” the Winchester police said on Twitter. “Individuals are calling residents offering upgrades to service as long as you provide them with a credit card number. These subjects may know information about you such as your address and that you are a DirectTV customer. They will become hostile if you do not provide a credit card number. Numbers associated with this scam are 800-532-2646 and 606-333-0365.”
It’s unclear if any DIRECTV customers in Kentucky have fallen for the scam. But the Internet is filled with reports from subscribers on message boards and other forums that they have received similar calls. The complaints date back at least three years, including this one from Texas in February 2020:
“According to Mike Poindexter of the Jasper (Texas) Police Department, a scammer called his father in Sabine County and identified himself as being with Direct TV, a satellite television provider. However, Poindexter said the longer his father talked to them, the more their pitch didn’t make sense. Poindexter said the scammer told his father that Direct TV was doing an upgrade in this area and it would cost him $150.00 that he had to pay, or, they would turn his satellite service off,” writes KJAS.com
“I just received a call from someone claiming to be from Directv,” one subscriber says in a 2019 message posted on AT&T’s customer forum. “Saying they were up-dating my receiver. They are very good scammers, everything sounded okay until they wanted 199.99 for doing this service, I told them I could afford that he said he could lower it to 140.00. I told them I could not pay it they told me my receiver would not be up-dated and the receiver would be shut off in 30 minutes, I asked to speak to a manager another person with a heavy accent came on and told me if I did not give credit card #’s I would lose service.”
The scammers even seem to know the account numbers and other personal information of some DIRECTV customers, adding authenticity to their calls.
“The scammer told the victim that they would get their money back through a discount on their monthly bill, the sheriff’s office said. The scammer apparently knew the victim’s DIRECTV account number and their total paid each month,” KRCR-TV writes, referring to a wave of fraudulent calls in Humboldt County in California.
There are also some reports that a similar scam has been tried on Dish customers.
“The citizen received several phone calls from a subject purporting to be from Dish Network,” the city of Dubuque (Iowa) said in a warning published in 2019. “The caller knew the citizen’s name and his address. The caller advised the citizen that his receivers were out of date because of new satellites and they needed an upgrade/software update. The caller ID showed the number was from Dish Network, however, it was later found to be spoofed.”
The Dubuque police notes that Dish says it will never call call customers and ask for personal information, including PIN numbers or financial information. AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, maintains the same policy.
The companies say if someone representing DIRECTV or Dish calls you and asks for your personal information, hang up immediately.
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— Phillip Swann