7 On Your Side: Consumer warning: New scam targeting DIRECTV customers

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's one of the most elaborate con jobs 7 On Your Side has ever seen. Scammers actually paid DIRECTV bills to con customers to send them cash.

The phone call offered big savings, a special promotion to add premium channels and slash the cost of service more than 50%. A newlywed couple went for it, and that was just the beginning of this swindle with a twist we had never seen before.

The couple conned into sending $300 to the scammers actually got to enjoy SHOWTIME and HBO. That's because the hackers succeeded in really changing their DIRECTV plan.

It all started with a random phone call, the creepy caller had all their account info, and that's not all.

"And he knew that someone was in our apartment doing something with our wiring a week before," said Joshua, a DIRECTV customer.

"We can fix the problems on your account," said the voice of one of the con-artists in a message.

In one week, three different men called Joshua and Natalie pretending to be from DIRECTV, even sending a series of fake emails announcing a special partnership with Green Dot Moneypak that would save them more than a thousand bucks off their bill.

Josh purchased the Green Dot card with cash, the scammer drained the money and posing as Josh, even called DIRECTV's automated phone system to change their account.

"Then I got a confirmation email saying thank you. We got the channels we asked for," Natalie said.

But the scammers wanted more money. So they told Josh the original payment didn't go through,demanding another $300.

"I was like, 'No this is a scam. I know this is a scam.' And they said, 'No I can prove it to you,'" Natalie said.

That proof? The swindlers sent DIRECTV a check for $400 in Josh's name.

"And he did he credit our account $400. We looked on our account logged on and had a $400 hundred credit," Josh said.

The scammers hoped to use the $400 credit to con Josh and Natalie into sending off even more money to them. But that $400 dollar check bounced, and the scam fell apart.

But once DIRECTV learned 7 On Your Side was involve,d it issued a credit for the same amount their customer was scammed $300.

CyberScout founder and cyberfraud security expert Adam Levin says they did the right thing, coming forward to warn others.

"They really focus on getting it right so they can lure you. So don't feel silly stay alert and practice good cyber hygiene," Levin said.

Other advice from DIRECTV and Adam Levin:

Before sending off any money, call the number on your bill and verify this information. DIRECTV never asks for pre-payments.

Don't click on any emailed links, they could be infected with malware.

And if you're asked to send money via prepaid cards, it's a scam.

DIRECTV corporate statement:
"If a customer feels a call or email is not legitimate, we encourage them to call the number on their bill. We monitor our network for potential fraud activity and provide information about fraud scams on our website. We do not have any promotions where services must be prepaid to a third party money card."

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