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Cable Box Caper is a Scam

The doorbell rings. It’s the cable guy with new set-top boxes for your TVs. WAKE UP! It only happens in your dreams – or if you’re about to be victimized by the latest scam. You may have “missed out” on a car warranty, but the scammers have more in store for you, so keep your antennae up and pay attention to the signals you get.

To us, the scam was obvious. Your cable TV provider just doesn’t show up and offer to swap your old set-top boxes for new ones. Visits and service calls cost them money. We assume the alleged cable guy also offered to change them out. Hey, go big or go home if you’re scamming someone. Cable companies are more than happy to ship you new boxes and let you ship back the old ones. They’re also happy to exchange at one of their stores.

What would be the harm from this? At the least, you could lose your cable service, which would necessitate a call to the real cable guys. They’d probably charge you for the cost of new set-top boxes to replace the “stolen” ones. Along the same line, assuming the scammer sells your boxes on the black market, the cable company would call you about the unauthorized use of service, and you’d be liable.

At worst, they could install devices that could get into your Wi-Fi networks and then your connected devices. That could lead to stealing your sensitive info and/or a ransomware attack.

As for other organizations reaching out to you, when was the last time Apple or Microsoft called you? When was the last time the IRS called anybody?

You can harden your defenses from scams and hacks at the office and at home by requiring two-factor authentication. It’s essential for financial or shopping websites, and highly desirable at the least for websites such as Google and Facebook. Many websites allow access through your Google or Facebook account.

With two-factor authentication, the website you want to access will send you a text message or email based on your preference, and you must respond accordingly. More website companies are also taking the step of notifying you when someone tries to reset your password. You’ll get an email or text about it. Make sure you let them know it was or wasn’t you.

We’d like to include a special note about the consumer side of the banking industry in general, based on our observations over the years. They’ve been lacking in their security measures, but we’re to blame for part of that. People get intimidated by complex security procedures or find them cumbersome – especially when your mindset is to simply log in and do something with your money.

The industry needs to change its mindset so that logging into a bank account is not a hassle. And consumers need to change their mindsets to understand that security measures are in place to protect them. If you’re afraid of getting locked out of your money, that’s understandable. But if you have a contact at your bank or live nearby, you can always make a phone call or pay a visit to reset your security.

We can help you prevent security issues and harden your defenses. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us with questions about setting up two-factor authentication or any other form of security.