Kansas – It certainly goes without saying that right now, during the largest pandemic in 100 years, that people want to do everything they can to save money. No matter how COVID bay have impacted your financial bottom line, however, it’s important not to be fooled by people who will try and part you from your hard-earned money. A twist on an old scam is currently making its way around Kansas, and you do not want to be a victim.
In this scam, con artists impersonating internet, cable television, or electricity company representatives, will call you, claiming to offer terrific deals or rebates on your bill, but it is really a way to fool unsuspecting customers into shelling out hundreds of dollars.
How the Scam Works
The caller will phone you, offering you a reduced rate on your cable bill. When you speak to this “customer service representative,” they will sound very convincing. Many scammers will use the same hold music as large-name cable companies and actually duplicate a company’s caller menu.
When speaking with the representative, they will seem very professional and well-spoken. The caller explains that the company is offering a special promotion: If you, the consumer, will pay several months up front, they will give you a discounted monthly rate, or free perks, such as premium able channels. In another version of the con, the caller will say something like, “You paid too much on your recent bill and are due for a rebate.”
After that, the call will become suspect right away.
Instead of using the payment information your cable company already has, they will ask you to buy pre-paid debit cards to make the up-front payment. Don’t do it! If you purchase the cards and send the information to the caller, your money will be lost for good.
How to avoid a utility impersonation con
- Never make payments with prepaid debit cards or gift cards. Have you ever, ever been able to pay your utility or cable bill with a gift card? No! Scammers prefer these payment methods, though, because there is nothing you can do to get your money back. Remember, legitimate companies almost always accept checks and credit cards as the primary means of payment.
- If someone shows up at your doorstep, verify their identity. If you weren’t expecting a visit, ask the person for their ID and then call your cable company to verify that they are an employee.
- When in doubt, verify special deals with your utility company. If you are unsure about a promotional offer you’ve been presented with, get the customer service number from the company’s official website or your latest bill. Call the company directly to make sure the offer is real.