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Valley Woman Claims New Scheme Circulating in RGV

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HARLINGEN – A 90-year-old woman said she trusted her instincts and refused to give the callers a penny. She wants to share her story to make sure you avoid falling for this crime.

"I said I don't understand this at all," Holmer told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Millie Holmer moved to the Rio Grande Valley 28 years ago. She said she and her late husband became Dish network customers that year.

She told CHANNEL 5 NEWS yesterday she received a call from a man claiming to be a Dish employee. She said he explained he needed to upgrade her satellite system, but first, he needed one thing.

"He said, ‘Would you get your Visa card out for me and give me the 16 digit number at the top,’” Holmer explained.

The caller told Holmer she wouldn't miss the money.  He would charge her card, and then refund her in six months.

Holmer explained that was a big red flag. She told the caller she would be happy to pay if he added the cost to her next monthly bill. The caller made it clear he needed the money now.

"And he said, ‘Oh but we have to have it or your programming will be shut off today,’" Holmer told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Holmer said she continued to ask questions. She was even transferred to a supervisor. She said eventually the caller hung up. That's when she called us. We were there when the telephone bandit called back. He explained why the payment had to be taken over the phone.

"Let me tell you, sir, it's a recording line and we are monitoring by the Better Business Bureau and it is a company policy we have for your security and our security," the caller explained.

When we asked for his name and told him we planned on calling Dish's corporate number - he hung up. We kept our word and called Dish's corporate line. They sent a statement that reads in part.

"This type of fraud typically relies on the scammer gathering information directly from the customer under false pretenses…if consumers question the authenticity of a caller for any reason, we encourage them to hang up the phone and contact their pay-tv provider directly…"

Holmer said she's glad she trusted her instincts. She told CHANNEL 5 NEWS if the schemer calls again she plans on telling him to get a job.

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