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Cable or dish software update may be a scam

Callers say your TV box needs an update
Posted at 2:44 PM, Feb 05, 2018

What would you do if your cable or satellite company called you, saying you need a software update? You might say "Sure, what do I need to do?"
If you subscribe to a satellite service for your TV programming, you may know that every now and then they issue equipment updates.

But Darel Ono, a DirecTV customer, says to be very careful if you receive a call from your provider.

"A man called the other evening and then went through this business that they are changing satellites, so we are going to change the software in your devices," he said.

Ono, who always tries to say current with tech, said he understood, and asked them what they needed from him to do the update.

They asked for his DirectTV account number and PIN, which he gave them. But the worst part was what the caller then asked him for, which he also provided.

"I gave them the last 4 digits of my Social Security Number," he said.

Caller sounded official
Ono says he gets calls from robocallers all the time and knows to hang up. But this time was different, he said, because the caller knew his name and his last address, and it appeared they were with DirecTV.

"They knew my name," he said. "It wasn't a random call. And they knew my old home address."

But after he gave his personal info, Ono got nervous.

"The first clue something wasn't right was when the caller started referring to it as Dish Network, instead of DirecTV," he said. "I corrected him, and he said 'Oh yeah.'"

Ono hung up, realizing the call did not sound right. He contacted DirecTV, where a rep told him that he may have fallen for an identity-theft phishing scam.

How to protect yourself

So don't let this happen to you.

  • Satellite and cable providers will never call you to confirm account numbers and Social Security Numbers.
  • They don't need personal information to do an update.
  • If you accidentally give a caller your Social Security Number, contact the credit bureaus and put a fraud alert on your account.

"Be careful, you gotta be careful," Ono said.

Bottom line: cable and satellite companies will do occasional software updates. But it is almost always automatic, and you will never have to divulge personal information to do it.

As always, don't waste your money.


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