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Theft of Service

What Is Cable Theft?

Cable theft is a crime that affects you, the paying customer. Cable theft drives up operating costs, which raises the cost of service to paying customers. Aside from cost, the quality of cable and Internet services can also be affected. This can include picture quality, speed of your broadband Internet connection, or quality of your telephone service.

Types of Cable Theft

There are three types of cable theft:

  • Active Theft occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally makes an illegal physical connection to the cable system in their area for the purpose of receiving cable service in their home or business.
  • Passive Theft means having active cable service in your residence without notifying the cable operator. (Example: You move into a new apartment that has active service but you do not notify the cable operator.
  • Premium Theft or "Pay Theft" occurs when someone knowingly and intentionally attaches equipment (i.e. black boxes, cheater box, cube, descrambler, decoders, etc.) 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).

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 by:

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