Another day, another scam over the phone that pretends to come from a legitimate company – but this one is particularly bad because it’s not just trying to steal money, but to get access into your house.
That’s the word from the Sanbornton Police Department. They reported Thursday that callers pretending to be from Dish Network, the satellite TV firm “needed to get into the house to move the receivers around” as part of upgrades. “The caller then asked the resident to give descriptions of the rooms in the house that contained the receivers.”
The resident got suspicious and didn’t fall for it, but police say it was a sophisticated effort.
“The phone number on the caller ID was shown to be Dish Network’s customer service number,” police said in a press release. “This is very disturbing because it shows the scammers are looking to get access to the residences. They could be setting up to commit burglaries or other crimes. These criminals are obviously in the local area.”
This scam is one of many that call and pretend to be a company that provides an important service to people, usually the local electrical, natural gas or telephone company. The scams often claim that shutoff is imminent unless the recipient pays up quickly, sometimes with gift cards. No legitimate company ever requires payment by gift cards – that’s always a scam.
“Phone numbers can easily be cloned to look legitimate,” Sanbornton police warn. They suggest that people contacted by a company should be prepared to call back, but at a number listed elsewhere such as in the phone book or on a bill – don’t just call back the number that contacted you, because it could be part of a scam.
Two bills (this and this) being considered by the New Hampshire legislature would directly or indirectly outlaw phone number spoofing, but it’s unclear whether this is an area where states can legislate, since telecommunications is generally an area of federal concern.