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Phone Scam Alert For Local Cable Customers

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Sonora, CA – Another “too good to be true” scam may now be targeting Mother Lode residents interested in lowering their cable bill.

This morning, Clarke Broadcasting was notified by a resident whose family received a suspicious telemarketing promotion call, purportedly from Comcast, offering to lower their cable bill by several hundred dollars. In order to get the deal, the customer just needed to pre-pay their bill ahead.

We called the Comcast Corporation to give the offer the sniff test. It turns out to be a real stinker. According to Bryan Byrd, Comcast Cable West Division communications director, “This is a scam that has been targeting several utility company customers, not just Comcast, but people should just be aware.”

He warns Comcast customers who receive an unsolicited email or phone call offering to lower their bill by providing information to be very cautious. Do not provide any information and call the 1-800-Comcast number to check it out. Scam alert information is also available online here.

Reportedly, some scammers are employing sophisticated approaches where they might provide enough convincing account-related information to seem legit. Also, in some instances, a scammer might even provide a callback number; some respondents have reported that when they called back, they heard an automated message indicating they have reached a Comcast department and to leave a message for a callback. Byrd indicates that this should also be a red flag. “It would be very unusual and rare,” he says, for a customer to get a callback number relating to a marketing offer that would reach a voice mail message.

Although sometimes the last four numbers of a person’s social security number are asked for, in order to authenticate an account — if that number sequence is being used as the Personal Identification (PIN) number — Byrd stresses that customers are generally not asked for that kind of information in an unsolicited email or on a call offering to lower the bill. He also cautions, “Comcast would not ask for the full nine-digit social [security number].”

Some of the scammers have also indicated that in order to get a promised discount, the customer must prepay using a Green Dot prepay card — another red flag. While Comcast does accept the cards, it does not require using that method for billing payment.