Too good to be true?

It has long been said that if something sounds too good to be true, then it often is. And this is the case for thousands of people who have fallen victim to cheap deals for cable TV.  

In a growing type of fraud, swindlers are setting up media accounts in the names of deceased people and selling these contracts on for a reduced price to unwitting consumers who believe they are getting a bargain. 

In the US a former Comcast employee has been recently charged with this crime. He claimed to be a Comcast employee in advertising he posted on websites, including eBay, and also posted leaflets through doors promoting his services. To those who responded, he offered a “special one-payment deal” to personally install the cable boxes that had unlimited access to all channels. 

Comcast believes it has lost more than $437,000 worth of account fees, cable boxes, modems, DVRs, mobile phones and other equipment due to this one scheme alone and this does not include lost revenue from the pirated signals of HBO, Cinemax, Pay-per-View, On-Demand and other premium services. 

The company estimates at least 800 false accounts were set up and nearly 3,000 pieces of equipment were stolen. Some equipment has been recovered when investigators searched a self-storage unit. They also recovered books and spreadsheets listing the names of identity theft victims, both living and dead. 

The accused would order Comcast equipment and have it delivered to vacant properties or abandoned homes and then sell the boxes and set up the subscriber accounts using the identities of people that had passed away. The victims would only find out that something was amiss when something went wrong with their box and they contacted Comcast to help, who had no record of their account.  

Stealing the identities of people that have died is increasingly being used as a tactic by fraudsters as a way to enable fraud. As a result, it is critical for organisations, particularly those that offer credit or subscriptions, to check the identities of new customers to ensure that they are who they say they are. This can quickly and easily be implemented by using deceased fraud prevention solutions, such as Halo, which helps businesses identify any personal information that pertains to people that have passed away.  For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.