:: Using TTY is latest scammer trick – Cleveland.com (subscriber)

Using TTY is latest scammer trick

PLAIN DEALING Scammers answer classifieds, pretend to be deaf.C5

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Sheryl Harris
Plain Dealer Columnist

Recently, I wrote about con artists using TTY phone service for the deaf to contact local businesses to order merchandise allegedly to be shipped abroad.

The scammers apparently are now targeting individuals selling goods through classified or other ads.

A reader warned that after she placed ads to sell a wheelchair, she got a TTY call from an interested buyer.

The TTY calls, which are translated into spoken words through an operator, allow the caller to mask his identity – so, for example, if he were using a woman’s stolen credit card, the person receiving the call wouldn’t realize the caller was male or that “Suzy Smith” has a distinctly foreign accent.

Followups are usually done through e-mail.

In this case, the scammer eventually promised to send a postal money order for a greater amount, let her settle up for the shipping and then send the leftover money back.

The postal money order, of course, will be counterfeit. Be suspicious of any buyer offering an overly generous payment and “trusting” you to send the refund.

Reducing spam:

US-CERT, a government organization that issues cyber alerts, offers these timeless tips for reducing spam:

Don’t give out your e-mail address just because someone asks. If you put your e-mail address on online or offline forms, say on a restaurant cus tomer service evalua tion card, your e-mail address is likely to be entered into a market ing database and could be resold to other com panies.continued

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