Satellite TV scammers target Spanish-speaking residents

Two White City men are out several hundred dollars after a scam artist set up satellite TV accounts for them over the phone but pocketed the money himself.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said two Spanish-speaking men, who asked not to be identified, were told by a man named "Victor" they could get a year's worth of Dish Network services for $240. Dish Network services cost anywhere from $35 to $105 a month, not including installation.

The men were told by Victor in late December to purchase a reloadable Green Dot debit card at Walmart to pay for the installation and plan. The scammer then set up new accounts with Dish Network for the victims, using a fake White City P.O. box as the billing address.

After Dish Network came out to the victims' houses and installed the television equipment, the scammer called again and obtained the debit cards' activation codes and numbers for payment.

The two men, who were friends, learned they'd been scammed only after one saw an alert on his television warning him about late payments. He had an outstanding balance of $345.97 with Dish Network, who said no payments had been received. His friend learned he owed $247.98.

When the men tried calling Victor back, they discovered the 541-area-code phone number had been disconnected.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said considering the time lapse between the scam and its discovery, more victims may start turning up.

"These are the only two reports seen so far, but some people may not know yet," Carlson said.

The Sheriff's Department is working with the Oregon Attorney General's Office in an attempt to track down the account that the Green Dot payments were deposited into and the name of the person registered to the phone number.

Carlson said the Sheriff's Department believes the man could have used an online program to gain access to the local number and may be from out of the area.

Reach Southern Oregon University intern Teresa Ristow at

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