Recently, a man reached out to me and told me about a scam he almost fell for. He wanted to share his story so others don’t fall victim to a similar ploy.
The man told me someone claiming to work for CenturyLink called him one morning. The man said the call came from a local number, and he has CenturyLink, so he believed it was the company. The caller told him they were going to check the speeds for his router.
I reached out to CenturyLink to ask about this. A spokesperson told me CenturyLink will sometimes call customers if they are eligible for special offers or upgrades, but you will never be asked for your account number or payment information. You may be asked to confirm your email address so that an order confirmation can be sent to you.
In this case, the man told me he gave the scammers permission to put a program on his computer and then they took control. The scammers told the man he’d been paying too much, so they were going to refund him $600.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
The man told me he opened up his online bank account on his computer, and the scammers asked him to type in $600, but when the “refund” went through, it actually showed that he’d been credited with $6,000. The scammers then told the man he’d have to pay them back $5,400. That’s when he started getting suspicious.
According to the man, the scammers told him not to access any other devices, but he did anyway. He told me he looked at his online bank account on his iPad and phone, and neither showed the $6,000 credit in his account. That’s when he caught on to the scheme and hung up.
This man told me he never thought he would be pulled into a scam like this, and that’s why he wanted to tell others.
If you ever get a phone call from a company and you’re not sure whether the person on the other line is actually with that company, hang up and call the company yourself. Don’t rely on caller ID because scammers can spoof numbers to make it look like they’re calling from anywhere.
CenturyLink also said to be careful of fraudulent emails claiming to come from the company.
“CenturyLink will never ask you to reply directly to an email with personal information, so if you receive such a request, it is a scam,” a company spokesperson told me.
If you believe a scammer is impersonating a company, reach out to that company and let them know.
In this case, the man told me he contacted Geek Squad to check his computer and was working on changing his passwords in case the scammers got access to any. You can report scams like this to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov. You can also call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357.
If you ever lose money to a scam, make sure you also report it to your local police department.