ST. GEORGE — TDS Telecom customers in the St. George area are currently being targeted in what is believed to be a scam.
TDS Telecom customers and residents in the St. George area have been receiving deceptive calls and home visits regarding TDS, said DeAnne R. Boegli, a national public relations manager for TDS Telecom.
TDS acquired Baja Broadband in 2013, and Baja officially changed to TDS in May. Some of the company’s customers have been contacted, told that TDS will no longer be offering cable TV, and encouraged to switch companies.
Boegli said the information is incorrect, and she believes some of the offers are scams because customers were asked for credit card and other information upfront.
“So, we’re just warning people to be on the lookout and to be very careful when approached,” Boegli said.
If residents are approached about switching cable providers, Boegli said, they should make sure to verify it is a legitimate offer.
“Obviously, there are other people out there offering (cable TV) services,” Boegli said. “They want to make sure it would be a reputable company if they were to change. But, certainly, they don’t need to switch from their TDS services.”
The company issued this warning:
The callers are claiming to work for another satellite provider and saying TDS will no longer be offering cable TV services in the area. This is not true. TDS is committed to improving and providing local Internet, TV and phone services in Southern Utah for many years to come. We urge anyone who receives one of these calls or visits not to provide any account or credit card information to avoid having your identity or other personal information compromised. If you have received a call and given out your information, please contact your bank or credit card company to alert them.
Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager for the City of St. George, said the city has not received any complaints regarding this alleged scam and it may just be a marketing ploy, but he encourages residents to be cautious.
“My advice would be to not be forthcoming with your credit card information; verify that it’s a legitimate service,” Mortensen said.
Residents should take the time to verify that a company is legitimate. Consumers can check with their city officials to make sure a business is licensed and registered, call the Better Business Bureau, or check a company’s state licensing.
Door-to-door: Sales or scams?
According to the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection, there is an increase in door-to-door scams during the warm summer months. Some scammers say they’re selling magazines for charity or offer to do yardwork to help pay for members of a local sports team to take a trip. Additionally, the division has been made aware of problems associated with sales of alarm systems and other home improvement services.
The scammers typically use deceptive practices to make consumers believe they are worthy of charity, such as identifying themselves as a relative of a neighbor down the street.
Some of the tactics used by these companies who go door to door are:
- They use high pressure sales tactics to convince you to buy.
- They say you have a right to cancel anytime when your contract doesn’t state that.
- If they don’t tell you that you can cancel anytime, they also don’t tell you what it will cost if you try to cancel.
- They sell you an “upgrade” to your current system when they are not the company that sold you your system, so now you have two contracts.
- They sell you a “discounted” price if you put a sign in your yard for six months but don’t tell you the cost if you decide to cancel.
Some tips to avoid scams:
- Read and understand contracts before you sign
- Verify the company you are dealing with
- Check references
- Ask the Better Business Bureau whether there are complaints against the company
- Don’t pay money upfront
- TDS Telecom — To talk to a TDS representative about questions or concerns, call 877-422-5282 or stop by the local TDS office at 111 W. 700 South, St. George.
- City of St. George Business Licensing can be reached at 435-627-4740 or through the main city phone line at 435-627-4000 — ask for Business Licensing.
- Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code, business search Web page
- Contact the Better Business Bureau
- Find scams near you with the BBB Scam Tracker
- Telephone scam circulating in Kane County
- New online tool allows people to report, see scams affecting their neighborhood
- Scam artists prey on those seeking housing assistance
- Sheriff warns residents about recent phone scams
- St. George residents warned of parking ticket scam
- Scams threaten potential victims with arrest, murder; promise money
- Report finds imposter scams top Utahns complaints for 2014; protection advice
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