Watch for sure-fire signs of bundling scam

Posted at 9:29 AM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 11:29:12-05

Cable Television can be expensive, and can come with complicated contracts. Scam artists are trying to get you to sign up for a bundled deal -- but it's a fake.

BBB's Emily Valla stopped by Good Morning Idaho to explain what to look for when you hear the offer:

An Idaho man told BBB about a text he received advertising cable TV, high speed internet, and home phone for $89.99 a month. Installation was free and qualified customers paid zero down. The text used correct grammar and spelling, a relative rarity amongst scam messages.

The text didn’t identify which cable company it was supposedly from, so we did some digging. Web searching the phone number showed a number of similar complaints and posts warned of phishing attempts if you called the number.

Most often, scammers try advertising this fake bundle deal via a phone call. The caller claims to be a representative from your provider’s “loyal rewards” program. She offers you a significant discount on your monthly cable and/or service.

Of course there’s a catch! You need to pay for six months of the discounted rate upfront. And this “representative” doesn’t take credit cards, only pre-paid debit cards. Using one of these cards is as untraceable as paying in cash.

If a caller specifically asks you to pay by prepaid debit card or wire transfer, this is a huge warning sign. Your utility company will accept a check, credit card or online banking transfer.

Don’t cave to pressure to pay immediately. If you feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

Never allow anyone into your home to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or reported a problem. Also, ask utility employees for proper identification.