The Federal Trade Commission has recently received countless reports of scammers posing as cable and internet companies. These scammers are so good at deceiving that even the smartest consumer can be duped.
Despite call blocking apps, software and caller id, scammers scam hard working people like you and me with our hard earned money on the phone.
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A woman recently emailed me that this is exactly what happened to her and her husband:
“We received a fraudulent call yesterday addressing my husband by name and claiming to be Cox Cable. We had just canceled Cox Cable TV two or three days earlier, which this caller broke in on. They offered a 40% discount if we reconnect. I inquired about the cost but before he told me the cost he wanted to check our account and asked for my mother’s maiden name. Then the red flag went up. I said, “May I call you back in 15 minutes? “, with the intention of verifying the phone number and calling Cox Cable. The caller replied that he would call me back. When I did a Google search for the number and called Cox Cable, I realized that it was indeed a traded scam call. The caller did not call back. I called my elderly parents to warn them about this type of scam.”
“My question is how did they know we had just canceled cable service with Cox Cable after we had it for the last 11 years? Is there a breach in Cox Cable’s data system?”
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How to know if you are being scammed
Scammers who pose as trusted sources like your cable or internet provider make it all the more easy for their victims to fall prey to them and willingly give away their personal information. And unfortunately, more and more scammers are prone to prey on people aged 65 and older because:
- You have good credit
- They are usually financially secure
- You are trustworthy
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Thankfully, there are simple red flags to look out for to determine if the person calling you is who they say they are:
- When they ask for personal information over the phone – Service providers will never contact you to request this.
- It’s from an unknown phone number- If the number does not belong to your contacts or is not known to you, it is most likely a scammer.
Unfortunately, some scammers are advanced enough to make their caller IDs appear as if they are actually the company they claim to be. If they are legit they leave a message so you can call them back with the number so you can do a google search and make sure the number is safe. They are most likely scammers if they don’t leave a message.
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How did the scammers get the personal information of the woman and her husband?
It is alarming that the scammer appeared to know the woman’s mother’s maiden name and that they had just canceled their cable subscription.
A mother’s maiden name is one of the most popular security questions people choose to authenticate their identity in case they get locked out of their account. Understandable, because this question is easy to remember; However, it is also easy to track down as a simple internet search might discover it. Data brokers, or people search sites, collect your information, including your birthday, phone number, and address, from various websites and then sell it to people who are looking for you online for a small fee.
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Fortunately, there are ways to find out what personal information about you is available on the Internet. The safest way is to invest in a trusted moving service as detailed in our article here.
It’s strange how they knew the woman and her husband had canceled their subscription. It’s not unfathomable to think your email contains prying eyes that might reveal that you’ve canceled your cable. You may consider blocking your email with a secure email account if these calls keep coming. Check out my top choice for secure email at CyberGuy.com/Mail.
If you have a story like this you want to share, head over to CyberGuy.com and let us know.
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