November 18, 2011, Milwaukee, Wis. – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is alerting consumers about a new scam that involves suspects offering satellite TV price discounts—and requesting payment with a prepaid debit card.
This scam may be targeting the Hispanic community.
How it works: The suspects identify themselves as being employees of a satellite TV provider. They lead victims to believe they can either provide satellite TV installation or can save a large sum of money on already contracted, current satellite TV services.
Victims are instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card and furnish the account number on the back side of the card, thus giving the funds to the scammer.
In an incident reported to the BBB recently, the victim was contacted via telephone by a woman who led him to believe he could pre-pay $430 for a year of satellite TV service (a savings of roughly $800). The victim agreed to accept the offer. He was instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card and provide the account number on the back side of the debit card, thus giving the funds to the unknown caller.
Both the suspect and the victim speak Spanish.
So far, the perpetrators have reportedly called from various local and out of state phone numbers that all register as either “unpublished” or “cell” phone numbers.
“These scammers are very effective in convincing their victims of bogus offers and it concerns us,” said Ran Hoth, president/CEO of the Wisconsin BBB. “The basic rule is never pay money or provide personal information to anyone unknown to you. Reloadable, prepaid debit cards are the new method of payment that scammers are asking for. Don’t fall for it.”
The BBB advises if you receive a call from someone claiming to be with a satellite TV provider or any company that is offering you a service—or discount on a service--take their name and number. Then, call the company to verify it is running the particular promotion or offer. Never pay with a prepaid debit card. Only pay with a check or credit card, so that your proof of payment can be legitimately documented.
For more information or further inquiries, please contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin).