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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Canton Region and Greater West Virginia
Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Scam Contacting Local Businesses
July 17, 2012

The Better Business Bureau Canton Region/Greater West Virginia has been contacted by several local restaurants 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 serve 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 restaurant placing a very large order for pick up. The scammer then gives the restaurant a credit card to charge the order and asks the company to wire the amount that was charged on the credit card to the “courier” that will be making arrangements to pick up the food. Un-denounced to the company, the money is actually being wired to the scam artist. Later, the restaurant receives a call from their credit card processor informing them the credit card was a stolen and charges will be reversed on the shops merchant account. The restaurant has been scammed and unable to recover funds.

All Businesses Beware:

This scam appears to be heavily targeting business in the restaurant 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.
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    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.