Shawano County woman nearly falls victim to scam with someone pretending to be Spectrum

SHAWANO COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – A woman in Shawano County who nearly fell victim to a scam is sharing her advice to those who may be vulnerable to them.

Pat Soetenga is a Spectrum customer from the town of Washington who received a voicemail about a deal that said, “This is to inform you that Spectrum has applied a 50 percent discount offer on your monthly bill, which is expiring today.”

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Hoping to save some money, Soetenga called the number back, and the person she talked to said she could pay only $75 a month on her bill for the next three years, but the first year had to be paid upfront.

“I told them, ‘That’s not really a good deal.’ He thought it was a good deal, and he hung up on me,” Soetenga says.

That is when she knew it was likely a scam, but to be sure, she called the actual company, and it did turn out to be fraudulent.

Soetenga says, “I was upset because I’m semi-retired, but there was a young couple that would want this deal, and they did it, they would be really out of the money.

She did the right thing in this situation by not only verifying with the actual Spectrum company but also notifying local law enforcement, who made note of the fake number.

Soetenga may have avoided falling victim to a scam, but McKenzy Wagner, Community Engagement Specialist with the Appleton Police Department, says if it happens to you, speak up.

Wagner says, “A lot of times when people are victims of different scams or fraudulent activity, they are embarrassed. They don’t want to talk about it, but that is our biggest use of education and a huge tool. If you talk about it, people know about it. They will see those signs.”

Soetenga’s advice to people is to “beware of scammers out there, because there are a lot of them, and not just for elderly. It’s for young and everybody.”

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A spokesperson with Spectrum also emailed Local 5 and additional tips to avoid being scammed:

  • If this is the “we can save you 50% on your current bills” offer, there is no such offer in the marketplace.
  • Avoid responding to any message or offer you think may be illegitimate. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not a real offer.
  • Never provide your personal, account, or payment info over the phone. Spectrum will never call you asking for this info. Spectrum also doesn’t accept payment through Bitcoin, gift cards, or banking apps, such as Venmo, Zelle, or PayPal.
  • If you do business with the company contacting you, call them back at the number on your statement — not the number the caller gives you — prior to offering up any personal information.
  • If you find out you were or were nearly scammed, contact local authorities with details about the scam so they’re aware of what’s going on in your area.  

For more information on how to respond to Spectrum scams, click here.