Imagine receiving this message on your phone - You are excited and do not want to miss out on the great deal, and promptly call the number. After pressing a series of buttons on what sounds like an an official DirectTV voice menu, you reach a human operator who greets you.
The operator politely asks for some account details for confirmation, and tells you that you can receive 50% off your bill (!) as long as you prepay 7 months of billing using an eBay gift card.
Also, if you are lucky, you may be one of the chosen customers to receive HBO and Showtime for life, along with giving me a $40 credit each month. Sounds like a good discount?
If you have received a message similar to the one above, and responded to it - you may already become a victim of the latest DirecTV Scam.
The Direct TV Scam is one of the many rampant phone scams happening at the moment in the United States.
Read on to find out how these scammers pretend to be from AT&T DirecTV and how they cheat you of your money. Also learn about what you can do to protect and prevent from being scammed.
Is this DirecTV discount real deal or a scam?
If you had taken the leap of faith, and followed instructions and steps to make payment through eBay gift card to receive the deal, you are likely to have been scammed and will never see your money back again.
What is DirecTV Scam?
The DirecTV Scam is an advanced, complex scam that has been going around in the United States.
Scammers send deceptive SMS texts to AT&T subscribers to advertise a non-existent AT&T deal. Victims who want to get on the good deal give up their account details unknowinly to a fake agent, and makes payment to the agent over the phone via gift cards.
The scam uses a combination of 'Smishing', complex call systems, deceptive call recordings, and fake agent to get this done.
Learn what is 'Smising' and how these text message scams have been stealing bank accounts
Also see the different types of scams possible with anonymous phone apps
Visualization on how the DirecTV Scam works
Like we said, the DirecTV Scam is by no means a simple one and is actually rather complex to set up compared to other scams. Below, you will a visualization or infographic each step of this very carefully designed scam.
Step 1: Perpetrator or scammer sends SMS
The scammer first acquires a list of numbers or calling list, then starts off the process by sending a deceptive SMS to a victim.
The SMS pretends to be coming from AT&T, by using a a profession sounding message and signs off as the organization.
The SMS advertises a highly attractive, and a too good to be missed promotion.
Step 2: Victim calls number listed on AT&T scam text
An innocent victim who falls for the deceptive SMS and fake promotion will call the number listed on the AT&T scam text
The phone call leads to a recorded message system that sounds very close to the real AT&T hotline menu.
Step 3: Victim reveal sensitive details in IVR
The Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system requests for certain account details such as your account number, and even pin, or password, to be entered through the keypad.
Step 4: Fake AT&T operator speaks
Just like real AT&T hotline, the phone will be placed on hold with music while being transferred to a human operator.
Step 5: AT&T scammer asks for eBay gift card
The fake AT&T operator will explain the non existent promotion, through highly scripted way to fake legitimiacy
Part of the explanation is to say that it is a limited time promotion that will be ending in a few days to play with urgency.
Step 6: Victim provides eBay gift card
The innocent victim, has to purchase eBay gift card. for prepayment to receive discount.
The victim, who at this point still badly wants the non existent promotion, will call back the number and provide the gift card numbers to the operator.
End-result: Victim no discount is received, and half a thousand dollars lost
As expected, the deal is not a real one, and the victim will not see his DirecTV subscription on any discount.
Also, the number does not work any more so there is no way to reach an operator again.
How much can be lost through this scam?
These scams make a lot of money, down to the fact that AT&T DirecTV subscriptions are terribly expensive.
The cheapest plan i $59.99 before taxes, and that comes with 12 month subscription and provides only a limited, selected number of channels.
On the other side of the spectrum, most expensive plan is $134.99 a month before taxes.
This puts the average subscription price at $82.49.
Calculation: (59.99+ 64.99 +69.99+ 79.99+ 84.99 +134.99)/6 = 82.49
For a prepayment of 7 months, that is 577.43 dollars, which is more than half a thousand dollars.
Who are people cheated in the DirecTV Scam?
Any subscriber to AT&T DirecTV service could be a victim of these scam. However, DirecTV subscriptions which are incredibly expensive, have been very popular and some families with tighter financial situation especially families with many children.
These families will find the promotion something that they will really benefit from, are likely to act immediately thinking they are able to save a lot of money for the family. Instead, their hard earned money are stolen by the scammer.
Why are eBay gift card used in DirecTV scam?
eBay gift cards are used in DirecTV scams because it does not leave any traces on bank accounts.
No transaction will take place with bank account that the police can trace back to.
How do scammers use the eBay gift card in scams?
Unfortunately, it is not easy for the scammer to convert the ebay gift card back to cash. Usually, they will have to sell the gift cards on an online marketplace like Craigslist of some other local forums. To make it attractive, the seller usually include big discounts on the eBay gift card.
How to prevent against DirecTV scam?
Do not give out your number freely, or use temporary phone number if you need to.
When you sign on over a website or app using your real phone number, you may be handing your number over to a scam or spam calling list.s
Using a temporary or second phone number will help to protect your real phone number from being the subject to such scam calls, or scam texts.
How to detect scams like the DirecTV scam
There are no major reputable services that will ask you to pay using eBay gift cards. If a service ask you for a gift card of any kind, whether a App Store gift card, Amazon gift card, or Google Play gift card, this is a red flag and immediately warns SCAM.
How to react if AT&T scam text message reaches you
FCC says 'ignore, resist the urge to respond'.
Trust yourself that if a deal is too good to be true, chances it isn't real.
Report the number to authorities, or FCC or AT&T hotline.
Delete the message and block the number.