TTY Drama

2006
09.23

I’m sure some of you have noticed that I have once again disappeared from the blogging world. It seems my life is never dull lately. I’ve been working nonstop to get my class work done before I go to Russia. I have finished one class (took the midterm and completed all assignments through October 18th). The other class I have just finished reading the novel I had to read and lack three homework problems and a 8-15 page report, and possibly a midterm before I leave. This next week seems to prove it will be even more hectic to get this stuff done.

That, ladies and gentlemen has been the least of my worries this week. It seems that the Campus Shop has been scammed out of several thousand dollars this week. I want to use this post as a warning to any of you that may think that you are or you work for a small business and don’t stand a chance at getting scammed. This person called our store during the busiest season of time, rush, and posed as a deaf person (which is not unusual because GWU is a deaf school and has a sign language program). They used the TTY phone system and first got in contact with me there. They said they wanted to purchase some books to donate to a charity. I told this person we were very busy but I would look into it as soon as I could. This person was very pushy and kept calling and emailing me to get it done. I put this off thinking they had a disability and were just anxious to get the books shipped. Our policy has always been that if we do a special order for someone that we must have it prepaid for. This person provided credit card numbers along with security codes for most of the cards. Each went through our system without a flag. Once I got the order finished with I was happy to not have to bother with this person again. Then about a week and a half later they contacted me again wanting to purchase more copies of the book for the charity. We went through the same procedure once again and didn’t have a problem. Then the third time we convinced the manager to check on the cards. He called the company and indeed the cards were fraudulent (don’t know why the credit card company knew this but didn’t flag the cards). Now there is a big investigation going on. With the help of some of my computer geek friends I have been able to provide the police with some IP address information and have tracked it down to a street address in Nigeria. I believe there is someone in the US working with this person and that’s why the phone calls and emails never seemed to match up. As I did more investigating, Justin found a tty site talking about how common it is now for people to abuse the TTY system for scams. There is even an internet TTY system now and it is completely free for anyone that uses it whether in the country or out. We pay for it!!!! when we pay our phone bill it’s one of those many fees. Crazy huh? So, be careful!