Man Falls Victim to Fake Phone Call Allegedly from DirecTV

5 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Friday, May 26 2017 May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 6:03 PM May 26, 2017 in News

WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley man is warning the public to be skeptical of any business asking for money over the phone, even if the number looks familiar.

Don Patton is a new DIRECTV customer. He said he’s has their number plugged into his contacts on his phone.

He answered the phone immediately when they called earlier this week.

“They even knew my account number,” Patton said.

He said a friendly female voice offered him a new package promotion. The supposed DIRECTV employee knew all the details of his current contract.

The promotion would cut his monthly payment in half, but he’d have to pay the first eight payments in a bulk sum of $320.

“I even said to her it sounds too good to be true,” Patton said.

The woman explained the company was having credit card issues so they needed the payment to be through a gift card.

Patton said he thought it was odd.

“And I’m going oops…ding, ding, but then wait a minute the caller ID says DIRECTV. And she knew my account number and told me where I live. So I think it’s got to be DIRECTV,” he said.

Patton paid the money using a separate 1-800 number he was given. He later had a question about his account and he called back the main DIRECTV number.

“When I called back to DIRECTV using the same number they called on, they said we don’t even have that package,” he said.

It turned out everything was fake. DIRECTV told Patton other customers have been targets.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS found out it’s not hard to call someone from someone else’s number. We downloaded a free app and tried it out for ourselves.

Rey Mendoza is a former FBI intel analyst who now owns his own cyber security firm.

“We trust the numbers that appear in our phone, but it is important to know that caller ID spoofing exists. People can change their numbers and pretend to be other people,” he said.

Mendoza said apps that can change the caller ID are becoming a common tool for criminals.

“The number one advice I can give is if you’re not sure and people are asking for personal information, it’s always best to hang up and call the number back,” he said.

Patton said he wishes he was warned beforehand and will use the experience as a learning tool.

DIRECTV representatives told CHANNEL 5 NEWS they're aware of the fraudulent activity and didn't give out Patton's account information. The company has a fraud/consumer awareness website, where customers can get more information guarding their information.

Company officials recommend anyone who falls victim to caller ID spoofing file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.

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