The Better Business Bureau Canton Region/Greater West Virginia has been contacted by several local towing businesses alerting us they have received phone calls from scam artists abusing the Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS).
The Telecommunications Relay Service is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. TRS communications assistants serves as a link for the call, relaying the text of the calling party in voice to the called party, and converting to text what the called party voices back to the calling party.
How the scam works:
The scam artist places a call through TRS to a local auto repair business stating they want to send their vehicle to the shop for repairs. The scammer then gives the shop a credit card to charge repairs and shipping fees. The scammer asks the company to wire the shipping amount to the “towing company” that will be delivering the vehicle. Un-denounced to the company, the money is actually being wired to the scam artist. Later, the shop receives a call from their credit card processor informing them the card was a stolen card and charges will be reversed on the shops merchant account. The shop has been scammed and unable to recover funds.
All Businesses Beware:
This scam appears to be heavily targeting business in the auto repair industry; however, the wire money scam has been around for a long time and can easily be altered to target other business types.
The Better Business Bureau reminds ALL businesses:
- To keep their guard up and never wire money to any unknown persons regardless if they have given you a credit card to cover the cost.
- Inform all of your employees to beware of similar phone calls.
- Make policies about payment processes and make sure all employees follow protocol regardless of whom the individual is making the purchase.
# # #
BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.
About Telecommunications Relay Service
The Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. TRS communications assistants serves as a link for the call, relaying the text of the calling party in voice to the called party, and converting to text what the called party voices back to the calling party. Under Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all telephone companies must provide free relay services.The TRS was utilized by the traditional text telephones. However, with the advent of the personal computer and the Internet, TRS users are now able to utilize the Internet to complete an Internet Protocol (IP) Relay. By using the IP-Relay, anyone throughout the world who has a computer and Internet access can connect to a relay operator (a communication assistant CA) and place a free telephone call, to include the international market.