We recently received a message from Leroy from Conyers, Georgia, who fell victim to a cunning scam targeting cable service Xfinity customers. This cautionary tale serves as a crucial reminder to all of us to stay vigilant and informed about the latest scams.
Here’s what he has to share:
“I received a text message supposedly from Xfinity offering to cut my bill in half if I pay for four months in advance, using a Target gift card.
I later received a message that there was a problem with their system. I was asked to call [number removed] to resolve the problem.
I was informed that was a problem with their system and Target cards. I was asked to purchase two e-bay cards for $200.00 each and submit them. I was told if I did this my original $350.00 would be refunded to me via cashier’s check overnight. This had to be done within three hours of the time the call took place.
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Woman is confused looking at her phone. ( )
I checked with Xfinity and they knew nothing about this. I contacted Target and informed them of what had transpired. There was nothing they could do, the money was already gone. – Leroy, Conyers, GA”
What happened to Leroy is very unfortunate, and I’m sorry to see another person get tricked by these evil cyber criminals. Let’s go over some key tips for how to know if you’re being scammed so that you don’t fall for one of these nasty tricks.
1. Beware of offers and announcements of winning prizes
A key tactic that a scammer will use is trying to convince you that you’ve won a prize or that you’ll be gifted something in exchange for money, which is exactly what happened to Leroy.
They might tell you to purchase gift cards, pay for something in advance, or say you’ve won a product like a new flatscreen TV, all in exchange for your personal information.
If you receive a text message from a random number and there’s a link or some sort of attachment in the message, proceed with caution. Companies like Xfinity often send things about your bill in the mail, not via text or phone.
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Woman is sitting on the couch on the phone. ( )
2. Don’t fall for offers over the phone
Xfinity has also had incidents where someone will call a victim over the phone and claim to be from the company, offering a similar 50% reduction in a cable bill.
They will ask for your account information to “confirm your identity,” and once they have that information, they can do whatever they want with it. Xfinity says they will not call customers over the phone or give you any kind of offer like this unless you call them first. Don’t fall for these fake phone calls.
3. Never make gift card payments
If anyone ever asks you to make a payment with a gift card or to purchase a gift card for them, there’s a pretty solid chance that it’s a scam. Gift cards are not traceable, and it’s a great way for a scammer to take your money and run with no paper trail left behind.
At least if you make a payment with a debit or credit card and it ends up being a scam, your bank or credit card company can help you get refunded.
4. Don’t give away your banking information
You should always have your guard up if someone is calling you on the phone or sending you a text message asking for your banking information.
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The scammer might try to convince you that they need it because there’s an issue with your account and that handing the information over would fix the problem. You should never give that information to anyone over the phone unless it’s the official number of a company you’ve reached out to.
5. Use antivirus protection
If you’re getting a text message or an email with a malicious link, having antivirus software on your device will make sure you are stopped from clicking on those malicious links or opening any attachments that may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by heading to CyberGuy.com/LockUpYourTech
6. Check your mail right away
It’s an old-fashioned trick, yet there are still people out there who will try to steal your bills right from your mailbox so that they can get some of your information and then try to call you later for more.
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Woman checking her mail. ( )
If you notice that you have a bill missing, contact your provider immediately to get it squared away. I’d also recommend getting a Ring camera or some sort of external security in front of your home so that you can see if anyone steals anything from you.
Kurt’s key takeaways
Leroy’s unfortunate experience serves as a cautionary tale for all of us. It highlights the need to remain vigilant against scams.
To avoid falling victim, it is essential to exercise caution with offers, prizes and phone calls, refrain from making payments with gift cards, safeguard banking information, employ antivirus protection, and promptly secure personal information. By doing all of this, you will avoid becoming a victim of one of these sneaky scammers.
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