How Scammers Impersonate Your Cable and Internet Provider
The FTC has recently received numerous reports of scammers impersonating cable and internet companies. These fraudsters are so good at deceiving even the savviest consumer.
Despite call blocking apps, software, and caller ID, scammers are taking hard-earned cash from hard-working people like you and me over the phone.
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A woman emailed me recently saying this happened to her and her husband:
“We just got a scam call yesterday calling my husband’s name and claiming to be Cox Cable. We just canceled Cox Cable two or three days ago and this caller didn’t know about it. If we get back connected, They would offer a 40% discount. I asked about the fee, but before he could give me the fee, he wanted to verify our account and ask for my mother’s maiden name. That’s when the red flag was raised. I said, ‘I can do it at Call you back in 15 minutes’, intending to look up the number and call Cox Cable. The caller replied that he would call me back. Once I googled the number and called Cox Cable, I realized it was actually a scam The caller did not return the call. I then called my elderly parents to warn them of these types of scams.”
“The question in my mind is, how do they know we just canceled Cox Cable’s cable service after we’ve been using Cox Cable for the past 11 years? Is there a loophole in the Cox Cable data system?”
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How to tell if you’ve been scammed
Scammers impersonate trusted sources like your cable or internet provider, making it easier for victims to fall prey to them and volunteer their personal information. Sadly, more and more scammers tend to target people 65 and older because:
- they are in good standing
- they tend to be financially secure
- they are trustworthy
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Thankfully, there are some simple red flags to look out for to determine if the person calling you is who they claim to be:
- If they ask for personal information over the phone – The service provider will never contact you about this.
- It’s from an unknown phone number— If the number is not your contact or is unfamiliar to you, they are likely a scammer.
Unfortunately, some scammers are advanced enough to make their caller ID appear as though they are, in fact, the company they claim to be. If they’re legit, they’ll leave a message asking you to call them back with the number, let you do a Google search and keep the number safe. If they don’t leave a message, they are probably scammers.
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How scammers got personal information of woman and her husband
Shockingly, the scammers appear to know the woman’s mother’s maiden name, and they’ve just canceled their cable TV subscription.
Mother’s maiden name is one of the most popular security questions people choose to use to verify their identity in case they get locked out of their accounts. Understandable because it’s an easy question to remember; however, it’s also easy to track because a simple internet search can find it. Data brokers or “people search” sites collect your information, including your birthday, phone number and address, from various websites and sell it for a small fee to people who search for you online.
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Fortunately, there are ways to know what personal information you have on the Internet. The surest way is to invest in a trustworthy removal service covered in our article.
As for how they knew the woman and her husband unsubscribed, that’s weird. It’s not unfathomable to think that prying eyes in your email might reveal that you canceled cable. If these calls keep coming, you might consider locking your email with a secure email account. Check out my #1 choice for secure email at CyberGuy.com/Mail.
If you have a story like this you want to share, head over to CyberGuy.com and let us know.
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