AT&T Direct Scam Calls - Save Hundreds with Upgrade or Discount

If you get a call promising to save you hundreds of dollars on your phone and TV service, be skeptical. It's likely a scam. AT&T confirms that scammers are calling their customers pretending to represent AT&T and DirecTV. The scammers usually ask potential victims to make payments via gift cards. But, no matter what you're offered, do not buy gift cards and read the numbers off the back to anyone, as the money is drained right away, it's very hard to trace, and almost impossible to recover your money.

ATT Direct Scam Calls - Save Hundreds with Upgrade or Discount

How the Scam Works

The scammers are tricky, and they may approach you in a number of ways. You may get a call to confirm that all is good with your service. Then they say you’ve been approved for a discount or upgrade. All you have to do is pay a few months in advance on a prepaid gift card. They want the money this way because it can’t be traced or refunded.

Other ways they may try to get your money is by saying there are issues with past payments, or technical upgrades or service modifications requiring a one-time payment for your service to continue uninterrupted.

These scams can be very sophisticated and convincing. Bad guys may use wording or sounds, such as tones and music, which mimic those used by an actual company. If you do call them back, they may have an automated phone system which shares “options” – all to fake you out. So don’t fall for the scam just because it sounds legitimate.

Always remember: Don’t pay with a prepaid card. But also watch for them asking for immediate payment using other methods, such as a checking account, debit or credit card.

What To Look For

Here are three possible scenarios that ultimately can lead to a bad guy asking for payment.

  • Pretending to be a company representative, the bad guy will convince you he works for the company to get enough information from you to access your account. With that, he can make real-time changes you can see, such as adding an upgrade. Then he says you qualify for a promotion, if you pay in advance, such as with a prepaid card. To make it seem even more legitimate, the bad guy can make fake payments to your account. You will initially see a credit. But those payments never go through and the credit is removed. When you get your next bill, you will be charged the full amount for the upgrade with no promotion, and you’ve lost the money you sent to the scammer.
  • The bad guy tells you he sent a “promo code” to your phone while he is chatting with you. He will ask you to read it back. The number is actually a temporary PIN code he caused the legitimate company to send to your phone by pretending to be you. He doesn’t actually know the PIN number until you read it to him. Once you read it, you’ve given him the ability to access your account. This can be followed by inviting you to pay for the promotion with a prepaid gift card or other immediate payment option.
  • You receive a phone call, text message or email. It says that you should click the link or call the number for a great upgrade or to resolve an issue that could lead to an interruption in your service. Don’t call that number or click the link. Instead, call the customer service number on your regular bill and ask if the message is legitimate. These may be attempts to gain access to your account or scam you, which can include requests for immediate payment.

More Information

AT&T and DirecTV don’t ask for payment with a prepaid card. If someone tries to sell you services or an upgrade this way, it is likely a scam.

To make the scam appear legitimate, the bad guys may also spoof a company phone number. To learn more about spoofing and how to better protect yourself, read this Cyber Aware blog on spoofing.

AT&T Call Protect uses call and data patterns to help detect malicious activity and keep you more protected. To learn more, visit AT&T Mobile Security & Call Protect.

Report suspicious calls to our Fraud Department here.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

AT&T Direct Scam Calls - Save Hundreds with Upgrade or Discount