With nearly everything digitized in our daily lives, scams designed to steal your money and personal data are a commonplace danger. Bad actors are often neck-and-neck with the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to stop them. Scammers prey on people using manipulative tactics to gain access to sensitive information.
Recently a Cord Cutters News reader emailed us and detailed a recent scam possibly targeting Comcast customers, a cable provider of which they are a subscriber.
Our reader said she was offered a promotion from a caller claiming to be with Comcast. During an almost hour-long call, she was told she could halve her cable bill for three years with no contract, but she had to pay $520 up front to cover the cost of the first eight months. The fake Comcast representative she paid the $520 — which he requested in the form of a Target gift card — within two hours, she’d get a $100 Comcast gift card in addition to the lower bill.
Suspicious, she called Target’s home office and spoke with the company’s gift card manager who informed her that Target had no such relationship with Comcast. The scammer later called her again and asked her to give him the gift card number. Our reader, who hadn’t purchased the gift card, confronted the scammer and contacted Comcast’s live chat about the encounter.
It’s unclear if our reader’s experience was an isolated incident or part of a larger scheme. Comcast wasn’t immediately available for comment.
You’ve likely received a phishing email or text. These scams often want you to click a link to make a payment, offer free stuff or claim there’s a problem with one of your accounts or payment information. The FCC has tips for spotting these ploys and protecting yourself, but phishing isn’t the only weapon in a scammer’s arsenal. For example, our reader experienced vishing, a type of phishing that happens over a voice call.
Comcast in a statement to Cord Cutters News said: “If customers suspect a potential scam or anything suspicious, they should contact Comcast immediately to verify the legitimacy of the request. Customers should be suspicious of anyone requesting a specific form of payment, or personal information such as usernames, passwords, account numbers or any other personal data. Customers can report alleged scams to our Comcast Security Assurance team, which is a dedicated group of security professionals, at [email protected]. Or, for additional support, customers also can contact us at https://internetsecurity.xfinity.com/help/report-abuse or 1-800-565-4329.”