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 user 2004-04-12 at 2:23:00 pm Views: 101
  • #5141

    Remanufacturer Avoids Being Bilked in Telephone Scam

    After Reading The article “New Twist on Telephone Scam: Call the FBI,” in the January issue of Recharger Magazine, one wary remanufacturer avoided being bilked in another possible telephone scam.

    On March 11, Scott Warner of Seattle-based Magnum Print Solutions received a call placed from Oklahoma through the AT&T Telephone Relay Service (TRS) system. An anonymous individual who identified himself as “David” inquired about making a large purchase of inkjet cartridges.

    What struck Warner as particularly odd was that David, after being told the two items he wanted were out of stock, requested a list of all of Magnum’s inkjet cartridges that were in stock be e-mailed to him. “I was very hesitant to provide him our inventory list, concerned it was a telemarketer compiling information for a pitch,” Warner said.

    Warner e-mailed David for additional information as to the nature of his business, and received the reply that said David was a reseller of computer supplies and consumables who wanted 40-piece quantities of specific toners to be shipped overnight.

    Warner’s suspicions deepened when the e-mail he received was from a name different than David, and all phone numbers on the reply e-mail signature were disconnected, with the sole exception of a fax number.

    As listed in the January article of Recharger Magazine, both the large quantities of cartridges requested and the lack of verifiable contact information are “red flags” that indicate a potential scam may be in the works.

    After doing additional research online, Warner was unable to find any business listed in Oklahoma under the name he was provided and filed a report with both Hewlett-Packard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    On March 29, Warner received yet another suspicious TRS call from an unidentified individual from Paterson, N.J., who requested 192 HP C6625AN inkjet cartridges be shipped overnight with payment via credit card. After informing the caller that the company only offers inkjet products locally, Warner received an e-mail from the individual requesting a price quote for the cartridges. Warner didn’t reply to the e-mail.

    Under its intended use, the TRS system facilitates personal and business calls for hearing impaired individuals requiring special telecommunications equipment, such as a text telephone or a TTY system. TRS operators recite the text-based messages they receive to the person on the other end of the phone.

    Fraudulently using the TRS system, scammers can ensure anonymity and avoid having their voices recorded and later identified. When the scam is successful, the initial purchase and shipping is paid with a credit card, which is later denied or charged back by the credit card company after product has already shipped.

    Verifying the caller’s contact information is vital to avoid being burned by the scam. Asking for wire transfers instead of credit card payments and delaying shipment until the money has arrived are additional steps that can be taken to avoid being scammed.

    A legitimate TRS caller will likely have a much smaller order request and should be willing to provide reasonably verifiable contact information when placing an order, as well.