The Summit County Prosecutor’s Office has learned of a new scam involving Spectrum Cable customers and efforts to lower their bill by purchasing Target gift cards. In fact, a local judge told us they were almost a victim when they were asked to purchase $600 in Target gift cards!
Here’s how the scam works. You get a call from someone who says they’re with Spectrum Cable with a new promotion to cut your bill by 50-percent! However, in order to get the promotion, you must first purchase hundreds of dollars in Target gift cards. The scammer asks for the phone number associated with your Spectrum Cable account as well as the four-digit security number with your account.
The fake Spectrum caller will then use that information to access your account through Spectrum’s actual automated system, saying they’ll pay your bill as long as you get them the Target gift card information. Your bill is never paid and you’ve lost the money used to purchase the gift cards.
The fake Spectrum representative sometimes offers a $100 Spectrum gift card in addition to the discount once you pay the upfront costs.
And it’s not just phone calls. Customers will also get text messages with similar offers.
We called Spectrum and they confirm this is a scam.
Here are some red flags if you get a call like this:
• You receive an unsolicited call out of the blue rather than seeking out the deal yourself.
• The tremendous 50-percent savings for an extended period seems too good to be true…because it is!
• Spectrum does not engage in telemarketing or make unsolicited sales calls.
• They address you as a current Spectrum customer but do not cite your account specifics.
• There is pressure to “act now” and provide personal/financial information immediately to secure the discount.
• The representative dodges questions about their identity, physical address, credentials, etc.
• Asking for payment via difficult-to-recover methods like wire transfers, gift cards, cryptocurrency, etc.
• Using threats or high-pressure tactics to stop you from seeking advice from friends, family, or even directly calling Spectrum to verify the deal.
If you are a victim of this scam, call the real Spectrum number immediately. That information is on your monthly bill.
• Have them lock down your account.
• Request increased security on your account.
• Reset your password and security code.
• Ask to have your account flagged in case scammers call in trying to pose as you.
• Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission, local police, and even the AARP fraud watch network if you’re over 50-years-old.
It might be difficult to recover the money lost to the scam. However, you can call your bank to immediately report the purchase. Call Target as well to report the purchased gift cards and request a refund.
SHERRI BEVAN WALSH
Summit County Prosecutor