Woman tricked by text message scam offering cable TV discount

A local woman trying to get a good deal on her cable bill found out the hard way that it was too good to be true. Toni Smith told FOX 46 she can’t believe she fell for it.

“I received a text message from what I thought was DirecTV,” she said.

The text said, “Last day to get up to 50% discount on your Direct TV bills. Use Promo Code: eBay. Call us at 1 (844) 427-0553 before it ends. Stop2stop.”

“They knew my name right away,” Smith said. “Said, ‘you're calling about the promotion?’ I said, ‘yes!’”

They told her eBay was sponsoring the promotion, and said she needed to buy a $200 eBay gift card to qualify.

“’Your bill will still be 50 percent off, but you had to pay this initial $200 up front,’” Smith recalled the person saying on the phone.

So she bought the gift card, called the number back and gave them the code on the back of the card. They took her money, but came back for more saying she needed to fork up $400 total for the promotion.

“Tears flowed from my eyes because I realized I had just been taken,” she said.

So she reached out to FOX 46, “I just went under consumer reporting and I think you guys came up first,” she said.

We called the number listed in the text message Smith received. At first, the man claiming to be a customer service rep said, “I pulled up the account, but I can't see any information that she signed up for the promotion,” but then added, “so (expletive) yourself if you are... if you are the reporter, then (expletive) yourself and don't call us again, all right?”

The real DirecTV told us the number we called is not one of their numbers, and they’re requesting its network provider to disconnect the line. They also got results for Smith who lost $200 by giving her roughly $30 off her monthly bill.

DirecTV has a page on their website dedicated to providing more information about scams like this, and how to avoid falling victim.