CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s an age-old scam: Crooks convincing victims to pay bills with gift cards.
Now, there’s a new twist: Actual customer service reps at a major telecom company falling for this old con. Morning Insider Lauren Victory finds out why the company’s support team encouraged one customer to sign up for a fake offer.
It started with a deal that was hard to pass up. A man claiming to be a Comcast Xfinity rep called with an offer: Comcast would cut Tom Fox’s bill in half on a month to month basis. There was even a $50 Visa gift card to sweeten the deal. Fox was told to pay three months in advance, or $240, using prepaid Ebay gift cards.
“Imagine trying to get your money back out of Comcast for a prepaid gift card that you bought at 7 Eleven,” said, Fox, who works in security and didn’t fall for the con.
Determined to sound the alarm so others didn’t fall for the scheme, he called Comcast’s real customer service line.
Fox told the rep his saga. Surprisingly, he says, she phoned the fraudster’s number to check out the deal.
Then, she transferred his call. Apparently, she thought the offer was legit.
“She actually connected me to the scammers,” Fox said.
Fox told CBS 2 that he called again and spoke to a different Comcast rep and then asked for a supervisor. Even the supervisor saw no red flags.
“I must have lost my mind,” Fox said.
That got us wondering: Who is the smooth talker behind this high-end scam?
We checked it out and made a call.
The scammer asked for the phone number associated with the account, then confirmed Fox’s promo code
The phony sales rep explained the terms and conditions and asked for the $240 in eBay gift cards. We asked about the Ebay gift card scam publicized on Comcast online forums and he denied involvement.
“This is a legit promotion with Comcast XFinity right now,” he said.
Comcast said it is not true but the man even offered up his employee ID and name, Todd Helton, “like the baseball player,” the scammer said.
Fox may not have fallen for it, but many have. The Federal Trade Commission reports nearly $50 million has been lost to gift card fraud this year.
Comcast confirmed there is no Ebay promotion involving gift cards and also issued the following statement:
“We appreciate Mr. Fox for bringing this issue to our attention. We have established policies and procedures in place which include steps the agents should have taken to help detect the fraudulent activity. We are taking this opportunity to reeducate our agents and review our policies and protocols in an effort to prevent this from happening again.
We sincerely apologize to Mr. Fox and are working with him to resolve this issue.
Consumers who are concerned that they may be the victim of a scam can visit https://internetsecurity.xfinity.com/help/alerts for a list of recent security alerts on scams targeting Comcast and its customers.
Note: We have added an alert on this scam. There is an earlier alert from 7/23 on a similar scam but with a different phone number.”