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I almost fell for a DirecTV phone scam! – Julie’s gadget diary

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ARTICLE – In order for this story to make a little more sense (and so you won’t think I’m a complete moron), you first need to go read my DirecTV cord-cutting article from yesterday. But if you don’t want to read that article (it’s really good by the way…) here’s a quick summary…

Once upon a time at the Gadgeteer household…

At the beginning of January, I told Jeanne that DirecTV was planning to raise their prices and that I thought we should try a trial run of cutting the cord which we’ve talked about doing many times but never really tried. I got the thumb’s up from Jeanne, so I called DirecTV and told them that I wanted to pause/suspend the service while we tried streaming. They offered to give me a $50 per month discount on my bill for 1 year if we didn’t pause the service. I said I’d talk to my spouse about it but wanted to go ahead with the pause. We’ve paused DirecTV service in the past when we’ve had home remodels and weren’t able to watch TV (we only have one TV in the house) and appreciated being able to stop service and not being charged while we not using the service. I ended the call with DirecTV with the service suspended.

Later that night we streamed a show and then went back and forth not knowing what to watch next. Jeanne wanted to just put HGTV on in the background while we surfed which is what we usually do and when I told her we couldn’t do that now she gave me a pained look. I then asked her if she wanted me to call the next day and take DirecTV up on their $50 per month discount offer. She said yes. And that ended our cord-cutting experiment – or so I thought.

The next morning I called DirecTV to resume/unpause the service but was told that I couldn’t do that and my suspension had to remain for a minimum of 30 days. I complained because that’s a really stupid policy. But the complaints fell on deaf ears. So I ended the call.

Then one day later…

I was talking to my sister on Marco Polo (an app sorta like Facetime but not) when a call came in from a number that I didn’t recognize so I rejected the call but a few seconds later I saw that I had a voicemail that had been transcribed into text.

My immediate thought was that I’d called back too soon to have my DirecTV account resumed and that they were going to let me do it after all. So I called the number and was greeted with the regular DirecTV tune/jingle, the same voice recording, phone tree instructions, etc that I’d dealt with just a couple of days prior. When I got the DirecTV rep on the line, he asked for my PIN number and then asked me what I needed. I told him that I received a voicemail that I was eligible for a $50 per month discount for 1 year and that I wanted to take that deal and explained that my account was currently suspended and that the other person I’d talked to said they couldn’t unpause it. The new guy said that there was no reason why my account could not be resumed and that he would do that for me. He then told me that I would be able to get a 50% discount for 2 years and could also choose from HBO/Starz or an ESPN sports package. I was confused because that was a much different deal than I was previously offered and I told him that. He explained that it was a special deal going on right now. My spidey senses started tingling so I asked him to tell me my DirecTV account number and he told me to hold the line and came back within a minute and had my correct account number and even told me what my last bill amount was. My spidey senses calmed… until…

He told me that in order to get the deal that I would have to pay the first 5 months upfront and then the rest of the 2 years would be billed normally. There go my spidey senses again… AND then he told me that I’d have to pay via an eBay account and if I didn’t have an eBay account I could get an eBay gift card and use that. At that point, my spidey senses were on full alert and I laughed and told him nice try, thanks for the scam, and hung up on him. I then immediately called the REAL DirecTV and changed my PIN number and asked them to put a note in my account about the fraud attempt. The guy I talked to said that he’d had 3-to 4 calls in the last month about this same scam. And just like the others, he couldn’t reactivate my suspended/paused account.

If I’d not already been dealing with DirecTV just a couple of days prior to the scam call, I would have never fallen for the scam but the fact that everything from the recorded greeting to the phone tree and that they were able to give me my account number (by using my PIN number… ugh) made me believe it was real – for a few minutes.

Heck, I’m the type of person who scams scammers! When I get a scammer on the line, I enjoy screwing with them by asking them stupid questions over and over and even asking them to spell words until they get tired and hang up on me.

Moral of this story…

I was embarrassed to include this story in my original cutting the cord article from yesterday but after seeing how popular that article has been, I decided that it was important to share with everyone.

Scammers are smart, be freaking careful out there friends!

I almost fell for a DirecTV phone scam! – Julie’s gadget diary