Dish Network Scam
There is a scam going around targeting Indian customers of Dish Network. An Indian man claiming to be from Dish Network recently called my parents house and asked them if they would like to upgrade to a better package – and they would actually save money. Currently they are paying about $80 a month, but the guy on the phone said that they could save money and also receive a better package if they paid $300 for 6 months – he just needed the money upfront. That amounts to about $50/month, which sounded like a good deal to my parents, so they said yes.
But, they said that they would need to see the contract first, to which the scam artist deftly responded that there will be an installation man coming in to install the free DVR’s that they would be receiving with $600 worth of equipment anyways. My parents said that it’s OK, but that they would wait to pay until the installation guy came.
The scam artist said that he would need their account number and last 4 digits of the primary account keeper’s SSN. When my parents asked him why he needed that information (since he was claiming to call from Dish Network), he responded that he just did not have the information in front of him at that moment. So, they unfortunately believed him and gave him that information.
The scam artist activated the channels
The next day all of the channels were actually activated. It seemed that the reason the scam artist needed my parents account information was so that he could call Dish Network himself and activate the channels – which he easily did on his own. This made it seem that he was legitimate so that my parents would feel like they received something, and would then pay the scam artist. Although it was quite surprising that it was so easy for him to just call Dish Network and activate all these channels with just our account number and last 4 digits of an SSN – it seems like there should be some additional checks placed by Dish Network to prevent such actions.
Dish Network confirmed that it was a scam
All of this clearly seemed to be good to true – especially since Dish Network had never called their house themselves before. So, my parents called up Dish Network to confirm that this was a valid promotion and indeed it proved to be a scam. Dish Network said that they never called their home and had no record of that – and Dish network also said that they never call their existing customers directly with new promotions. So, my parents realized that they were almost scammed.
Of course, because he impersonated my parents, they would have found out on their next billing statement that they had been scammed, because the additional charges for the new channels would have shown up on the next billing statement.
Luckily my parents never paid the scam artist, and they ignored his repeated calls. There were a few other red flags like his email address, which was firstname.lastname@example.org – which obviously looked a bit shady. He had sent an email with more details, and the suspicious thing about that email was that he was using a gmail address. Why would any corporate entity like Dish Network use a gmail address?
The phone number of the scam artist
The phone number used by the scam artist is 347-722-7176, so beware if you receive a call from this number. The name he is currently going by is Rohit Rajput. Also, he will ask for you to give him referrals to your friends, so be careful and do not give out your personal information to him or any of his colleagues.
I think there are probably variations of this scam that target other specific ethnic groups – like Latinos, east Asians, etc. who all have their own ethnicity specific channels at an extra cost of course. So, beware, because this scam is actually pretty clever – and like all good scams there is some element of truth to it, because the scammer does actually activate the channels as a gesture of ‘good faith’.