Reader Steve in Florida owns a small restaurant. He recently received three odd phone calls from prospective customers–deaf people using a relay service–wanting to place a catering order for a party of about 100 people using a credit card. Oh, and even though the party is three weeks out, could his business send $956 to the party planner who will be picking up the food, even though the party is a few weeks out? Steve was right to be suspicious, and wants to warn other small business owners.
While the operator was real, the caller was most likely a fraudster located somewhere in Africa taking advantage of an Internet-based relay service to get free phone calls to the US and hide behind a fake disability for bonus credibility points.
In the past few weeks I have received 3 different calls, purporting to be from TDD operators. I had never received a call from a TDD operator, so I’m not sure if the operators were real, or part of the scam. It starts out with the deaf person, wanting to plan a party for about a 100 people, and they would like to use my food. They will send the professional party planner to pick up the food. (party is 3 weeks out) But they want to pay for it now with a credit card.
f you go along, they ask for a fax number, because they don’t want the operator to have there credit card number. They then fax you the pertinent information, and tell you to go ahead and charge the complete amount right now. Oh, and by the way, can you add $956.78 to pay the party planner. This is when I hung up, but I can imagine them getting paid from a lot of businesses. I’m sure after the planner gets paid, there will be a chargeback.
More likely than a chargeback, the credit card itself is a stolen or fabricated number. The “party planner” is an accomplice, who will take that $950 and run, while the credit card transaction ultimately fails.