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Voice of the Consumer: It pays to be suspicious, no matter what the Caller ID says

By: betty sexton KKTV 11 News
October 9, 2016 Updated: October 9, 2016 at 1:36 pm
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photo - Girl hand touching screen on modern mobile smart phone. Close-up image with shallow depth of field focus on finger.
Girl hand touching screen on modern mobile smart phone. Close-up image with shallow depth of field focus on finger. 

I warned you about this scam using the name of Dish Network 18 months ago and now it's resurfaced. Thanks to Ann in Castle Rock who let me know she was a victim. Thankfully, she recognized it in time and didn't lose any money.

Ann got a phone call and the Caller ID read out Dish Network. If you've read my columns you know, crooks can spoof the information and display any name and phone number they want in Caller ID. Since Ann is a Dish customer she picked up the phone and talked to a man using the name of Kevin Liu. Kevin told her that Dish was upgrading its software and she needed to pay $99 immediately if she didn't want to lose any of her current channels. She was also assured the money would be refunded six months later.

Ann was suspicious as she knows that's not the normal approach for Dish. When she brought up that issue and asked about switching to another provider, she was told she had signed a contract. Kevin then instructed her to turn on her television and use the remote to hit certain specific buttons, until she had the receiver number up on the screen. He knew some of the numbers, but not all of them.

Then Kevin asked Ann for her security code. He said it was for recording purposes only and talked a good line. Ann bought his story and gave him her security code. Then Kevin transferred her to another department where a woman asked Ann to mail a check to an address in Coney Island, New York. She was told they did not accept credit cards.

Ann gave the woman certain information about her account, but not all of it. That's when she got suspicious, hung up, and called Dish herself. She learned the satellite company had not called her, it was not doing a software upgrade, and she needed to call her bank, and change her Dish security code.

The very next day "Kevin" called back to see if Ann had mailed the check. She told him she knew he didn't work for Dish and had reported him. A few minutes later he called back to scare her. He told her to turn on her television. On the screen was a message that she was no longer authorized to use those channels. Ann says she learned Kevin had locked her out, changed her passcode, and set it to vacation mode. One call to the real Dish and that was fixed, no problem.

Dish spokeswoman Courtney Culpepper told me, "We take allegations of third-party fraud involving the Dish brand very seriously. Scammers claim to be a pay-TV provider representative and offer a promotion or service in exchange for an upfront payment. This type of fraud typically relies on the scammer gathering information directly from the customer under false pretenses, that the scammer then uses to impersonate the customer." She also told me Dish never reaches out to customers by phone, only by mail and email.

I'm not surprised this scam resurfaced. It usually does if it's successful. You can protect yourself by not making assumptions about the person you're talking to, no matter what the Caller ID says. Listen to your instincts and call us if you have questions or concerns. The 11 Call for Action team is here to help at 719-457-8211.

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Contact Betty Sexton at bsexton@kktv.com or 578-0000.

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