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What is cable theft?

Cable theft is a crime that affects you, the paying customer. Cable theft drives up operating costs, raising the cost of service for you. In addition, the quality of cable and Internet services can also be affected. This can include picture quality, the speed of your broadband Internet connection, or the quality of your telephone service.

Types of Cable Theft

There are three types of cable theft:

  1. Active Theft
    When someone knowingly and intentionally makes an illegal physical connection to the cable system in the area for the purpose of receiving cable service in a home or business.
  2. Passive Theft
    Having active cable service in your residence without notifying the cable operator. (For example: You move into a new apartment that has active service but you don't notify the cable operator.)
  3. Premium Theft or "Pay Theft"
    When someone knowingly and intentionally attaches equipment (black boxes, cheater boxes, cubes, descramblers, decoders) for the unauthorized receipt of premium or pay cable services such as HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, or Pay-Per-View movies and special events (wrestling, boxing, etc.).

Cable theft is illegal under various state laws as well as Section 633 of the Federal Cable Act [47 U.S.C. 553].

Reporting Cable Theft

If you suspect someone is stealing cable services, you can make an anonymous and confidential report.

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Article Number: 6153

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