Sky TV is a comprehensive package of channels that details for around £70-80 a month when customers include sports and movie packages. When customers were offered Sky TV for £10 a month, perhaps they thought they were receiving the bargain of a lifetime. But unfortunately, it appears this was one of some fraudulent schemes that stole customer’s money and left them without the channels they desired – or facing fines for illegal systems.
Too good to be true
Fraudster was caught on CCTV cameras selling set-top boxes to unsuspecting customers with packages for TV channels at a bargain price of just £10 a month. An investigation by the BBC, in one example, found a satellite dish installer living in south London who was selling boxes for less than one eighth of the normal price using hacked systems. The installer admitted that the systems were illegal and that the customers were getting something ‘for free that you should be paying for’ but not to worry because Sky and other satellite providers went after the people running the network rather than the customers. This particular person boasted to installing some 150 boxes and making £20,000 a year in illegal income in the scam. Another example was a man selling access to all Sky movies and sports channels for £150 while telling people this was much less than it should be. People contacting the Sky TV contact number were shocked to discover these weren’t genuine packages. The shop closed after enquiries were made about the packages and the owners were unavailable to comment to journalists.
Under the Copyright Act, anyone selling this type of bogus equipment or fraudulent packages could face an unlimited fine and even up to a ten year jail sentence. This doesn’t seem to stop the fraudsters from undertaking their work and catching unsuspecting citizens in their traps. And what they don’t tell anyone is that people watching on these illegitimate boxes could also face a huge fine and prison time if they are caught, whether they were aware the box was illegal or not. At the moment, Sky Sports is a particularly well-targeted area for these tactics due to the popularity of Premier League Football and Swansea and Cardiff are highlighted as hotspots for illegal boxes. While the providers don’t have the exact figures of the number of people watching channels through false boxes and packages, all have admitted that they face the problem. In fact, according to forensic services experts, there could be some parts of the country where the number of illegitimate subscriptions out way the number of legitimate ones. Urban areas see the highest numbers, unsurprisingly, and there also seems to be associations between these fraudster and other types of organised crime. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) are quick to point out that this is not a ‘victimless crime’ as some believe. Because the boxes are not paid for legitimately, then the people producing, starring and writing in the TV shows, and movies people are watching don’t receive the right compensation for their work. This can affect families around the country just as much as high paid stars and well-known directors as there are hundreds of people involved in the production of every show or film.
Getting what you pay for
There is a Sky TV contact number for anyone to use if they suspect that the box they have been sold isn’t a legitimate one. That way they can ensure they are watching quality TV through a safe and real Sky box and are paying for the channels in the right way, not helping to fund organised crime.