A Waterbury woman is trying to get the word out about a fake promotion that cost her $250.
Clara Stevens told NBC Connecticut Responds that at first glance, the offer appeared legitimate.
“I was shopping one day and my phone rang. It said Comcast on the caller ID, so I picked up thinking there was an issue with my bill or my service,” Stevens said.
The caller told Stevens that Comcast and Amazon were offering a special promotion to advertise their new partnership.
Stevens searched online to verify it and found out that Amazon is now selling Comcast services through its site. Stevens said the caller, who claimed to work for Comcast, knew her account number and the type of service she had.
"And that if I was to pay five months in advance on this special price, that they would give me this locked in rate for two years,” she said.
The caller told Stevens to buy a $250 Amazon gift card, and gave her a number to call once she had. When she called that number, Stevens said the recording was the same one she gets when calling Comcast.
She read off the gift card’s claim code and didn't think about it again until she was paying her bills. Wondering if she could get the same deal for a second Comcast account, Stevens called back. This time, she was asked for the last four digits of her social security number.
That's when Stevens realized she hadn't been talking to Comcast at all, but that someone had manipulated the caller ID to make her think she was.
"And I've since learned that it's like one of the easiest things that you could do, there's apps out there that teach people how. It's called spoofing," she said.
Stevens reported the incident to Comcast, Amazon and the Federal Trade Commission. Now she wants to warn others about what she calls an elaborate scheme.
Stevens said her biggest concern is how the caller accessed her account information. She has since changed her passwords and security questions.
Comcast spokesperson Kristen Roberts offered customers this advice:
- Consumers should always immediately call 1-800-COMCAST to verify the legitimacy of the call.
- A customer should be suspicious of anyone that requests personal information, such as solicitations for usernames, passwords, account numbers or any other personal data.
- Comcast offers a comprehensive Security website at http://xfinity.comcast.net/constantguard, which serves as an online resource to help customers protect themselves from spam, viruses and other threats.
- Consumers can also report alleged scams to our Comcast Security Assurance team, which is a dedicated group of security professionals, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon also advises customers who receive solicitations like the one Stevens got to call the number listed on their bill. A spokesperson told NBC Connecticut that customers should think of its gift cards like cash. If you're asked to pay for something over the phone by buying a prepaid gift or debit card, that’s a red flag.
Comcast is the parent company of NBC Universal and NBC Connecticut.