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 Post Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:35 pm 
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Scammers are taking to the satellite TV airwaves to steal your money.

Consumer protection officials are warning satellite TV subscribers to be on the alert to the latest scam hitting Wisconsin: the scammer makes a great offer to upgrade service, then diverts your money to his pockets, leaving you with either overdue bills or no upgrade.

"Consumers are calling to report they've been contacted by criminals falsely claiming to represent a satellite television provider," Sandy Chalmers, division administrator for trade and consumer protection, said in a news release from the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Two different scams are being reported:

— The first scenario involves a scammer claiming to represent the company calling the subscriber, offering more channels and service at a discounted one-time fee, ranging from $250 to $400.

When the scammer gets the personal account information from the subscriber, a second scammer calls the satellite TV provider and pretends to be the customer and requests a service upgrade and to send a technician to the subscriber's residence to do the work.

The subscriber also is instructed to send a prepaid debit card to a third-party address to pay for the upgrade.

"Since the receiver of the money is a scammer with no connection to the company, the victim starts getting overdue notices from the company," the release said.

The victim is getting more channels and services because of the upgrade, and ends up upset at the company because in the customer's mind, the upgrade was already paid for.

— The second scam has the scammer calling the customer, making an upgrade offer, with the victim being told $300 has been deposited in the victim's account, and the victim should wire transfer a similar amount to a third-party company to get the upgrade.

"Following the money transfer, the victim finds out the upgrade never happened, and the third party isn't affiliated with the satellite company," the release said.

DATCP warned not to give out personal or account information to a caller claiming to be from your satellite TV provider (the real company already has it), and if a call sounds like a scam, hang up and call the real company to report the call.

Also, be very wary of any deal where you have to do a wire transfer or buy a prepaid debit card and send it somewhere.

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