It starts with a phone call or an email that appears to be from DIRECTV. Instead, it's just scammers trying to get your money.
Venita Gatling fell for the scam. "Well, this is Daniel from DIRECTV," Venita heard when she answered the phone that day.
Venita said he told her that there was a promotion going that was much better than the deal she currently had. That promotion was $99 a month, locked in for two years.
"I said OK because I'm paying way more than this now right," Venita said.
Venita said she was told she'd have to act fast because the deal expired at the end of the day. Venita said she was told to get the deal, she would have to pre-pay for services through the end of the month.
She said Daniel told her she'd have to pay by buying an Amazon gift card for $300. She said if she did that, she would have "no payments due until January of 2018."
Venita said that without even thinking twice, after hanging up the phone, she went to the grocery store and bought the $300 Amazon gift card. She then called back the number that she was given and she was instructed to scratch off the numbers and read them off to the caller to access her special DIRECTV deal.
"He says here's your confirmation number," Venita said when she had finished reading off the numbers to the caller.
When the caller had finished gathering the information he needed, Venita said he thanked her and told her she should be receiving a $100 Visa gift card in the mail in three to four business days.
The promised gift card never arrived. Upset, Venita called DIRECTV to find out what had happened to the gift card.
"I called DIRECTV, and they had no idea what I was talking about. They had no promotion like that going on at the time," Venita said.
The caller at DIRECTV regrettably informed Venita that she had been scammed.
The sad part of this story is that Venita is not alone.
Steven Terry got this email that appeared to be from DIRECTV. According to this email, the promotion would make his bill only $49 a month for two years. To access the deal, he would just have to get a pre-paid card for $250 with a Green Dot Moneypak.
Steve did all that, thinking it would save him money, but he eventually called DIRECTV when he noticed billing errors and found out it was all a scam.
While Steven and Venita have fallen victims to a scam, Venita is speaking out hoping that she can help others not to fall for it.
Check out what happens when I call the scammers pretending to be DIRECTV
A rep for DIRECTV/AT&T said that they are aware of these scammers who pretend to be with their company, and they have warnings on their website. They also have tips on their fraud prevention and cybersecurity site. Their best advice, do not provide any information over the phone or email if you get an unsolicited call, instead, hang up and call the number on your statement. DIRECTV will never solicit pre-payments via pre-paid cards or gift cards, so if someone is trying to get you to provide personal information about your account, hang up the phone. The representative also adds that you should always be certain you are speaking with a legitimate AT&T/ DIRECTV representative about your service or any current offers. If your account does not already have one, they recommend placing a passcode on your account for added security.