I spotted this warning from the smalltown Fostoria, Ohio Police Department:

“Citizens reported they had been scammed over the phone by a man claiming to be a AT&T/Direct TV sales rep. The scammer had very detailed information, including the victim’s AT&T security code number, which could have only been obtained through AT&T company records.

To prove to the victims that he was a legitimate company employee, the scammer even changed the victim’s Direct TV programming by adding channels that they did not previously have. ‚ÄčTo take advantage of what the scammer was offering, the victims were requested to purchase $438 in EBAY gift cards and to give the card numbers to the scammer.

After this was done, the scammer somehow knew that the cards were purchased from the Kroger Store and told the victims that these cards could not be used because the cards had to be purchased from Rite Aid because they were a participating merchant in the program.‚ÄčThe victims then became very suspicious and called AT&T directly while still speaking with the scammer.

The scammer then threatened to stop their services. The actual AT&T representative asked the victim if they were currently requesting disconnection, which they were not. It was the scammer who had made the request for disconnection. This is one of the most sophisticated scams we have been notified of. It is always best to contact customer support directly to take advantage of pricing deals offered by services you have. REMEMBER any time a caller requests you to get gift cards and give them the numbers IT IS ALWAYS A SCAM!”

Even if you don’t live in a small Ohio town, you need to take heed. Someone has either gotten into an AT&T/Direct TV information and used it to target customers or perhaps managed to get some type of monitoring software onto the victim’s phone where they are able to see their accounts and perhaps even monitor their location.

As always, be suspicious when people call you with offers. Most importantly, as the police department pointed out, any time anyone brings up gift cards to pay for something, it is a scam. Always. Not exceptions. Gift cards are for giving as gifts. You buy them for your nephew not to pay fines, hire lawyers, or change your TV service.

Be vigilant!