CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - If you're thinking about cutting the cord or looking for ways to save on your cable bill, beware of scammers who may offer deals too good to be true.
A Lowcountry man, who asked to be identified as “Rocky,” thought he’d found a great deal to save money on DirecTV. That great deal cost him hundreds of dollars.
“These actors so to speak were very well-rehearsed,” Rocky said. “They were believable.”
Rocky said the scam started with a text message, offering a 50 percent discount on his DirecTV monthly bill. He called the phone number provided in the text message and spoke to someone claiming to be a sales representative for DirecTV.
The scammer offered to lower the bill but Rocky had to pay $690 first. The payments could only be made through eBay gift cards.
"He said that was part of the promotion," Rocky said.
The scammer claimed eBay was a partner with DirecTV and AT&T for this promotion. Rocky bought the eBay gift cards, called back to submit the payment, and even got a confirmation number. Rocky thought everything was good.
“I mean it was very believable and I think I’m a pretty smart guy,” Rocky said.
The next day he got another text message. This message claimed a problem had occurred and Rocky’s payment had been canceled. Rocky says he was told eBay had been overwhelmed with the promotion’s response and some payments had been rejected.
Rocky was still eligible for the promotion but needed to buy $690 worth of eBay cards and resubmit the payment. The scammer, now impersonating a customer service manager, promised to send a check overnight for $740. This would cover Rocky’s second payment and an additional $50 for his trouble.
Rocky didn’t rush out and buy the cards that night. He waited until the next day. When he tried to call DirecTV back, the phone numbers he’d originally called no longer worked. He decided to call AT&T’s fraud department.
“I said ‘Hey I got this text’ and the lady kind of chuckled as soon as I said eBay cards,” ROckay said.
The woman with AT&T’s fraud department confirmed Rocky’s fear. He had been scammed.
Prepaid money cards and gift cards are still the preferred methods of payment for scam artists. No matter how convincing the caller may be, this type of payment should always be a red flag and a sign to walk away.
You can also report a scam likes this at FTC.gov/complaint.
If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.