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Con artists twist old scheme into new rip-off aimed at Tampa Bay Spectrum consumers

Fraudsters target internet/cable customers
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Posted at 2:36 PM, Jun 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 17:34:04-04

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Con artists have cooked up yet another scheme to trick Tampa Bay residents out of their money.

St. Pete Beach resident Karen Gibson works from home, so the internet is a necessity — but it comes at a cost.

According to Karen, her bundle of TV, phone and internet service costs her close to $200 each month.

“They probably call four to five times a week,” Karen told ABC Action News about the offers she receives to slash her cable/internet costs.

She always ignored them, but one day in April she decided not to hang up and listened to the sales pitch.

She didn’t know it at the time, but a Spectrum imposter was on the other end of the line, and he hit Karen with a fake offer for a lower monthly cable bill.

“They said it was only for current customers, not new customers they were offering this discount,” she said.

The caller billed the promotion as part of a partnership with Apple. In order to get the “limited time offer”, Karen needed to pay in advance using Apple gift cards. She did and she lost more than $800.

Anna Marie Fiallos with Pinellas Consumer Protection knows the years’ old script, describing it as an “old scam” with a “different twist” by simply changing the company name.

ABC Action News checked with Spectrum and a spokesperson confirmed a spike in customer fraud reports. The company posted a fraud alert advising customers "not to respond to texts, emails or phone calls claiming to be from Spectrum.”

Karen Gibson said what happened to her was an expensive lesson learned.

Now she's spreading the word, “If I don't speak up then this is going to happen to other people too.”