An attempted scam that utilizes a phone service for the hearing impaired was reported to the Pella Police Department by a local business on Thursday. According to the business owner, the caller used the Relay Iowa system to contact their business and request to purchase a product with a credit card. Pella Police Officer Paul Haase says the special phone service is used to give the scammer an advantage to defraud their target.
“It’s a lot harder to track the suspect in that kind of scam,” says Haase. “That Relay Iowa or ‘TDD Line’’ – as it’s also called – for the hearing impaired, is often times used to confuse the possible target or victim of these crimes. Generally, it’s for businesses and for services that that one very commonly targets those people.”
In the most recent case, the caller requested to charge more than the amount of the purchase and then have the business send back the remaining amount via a money order service. Typically, the credit card number used to make the overcharged purchase is stolen. Officer Haase says this tparticular scam has become quite common in Pella and surrounding communities.
“We’ve seen a lot of small businesses, and other businesses that have taken a big hit by this scam being perpetrated against them,” adds Haase. “So we really just want to educate the public and get the community aware of this that these scams are out there.”
Haase urges local businesses and residents to be leery of any requests for money previous to delivery of a product, as well as requests for money to be sent to an unknown address using a money order service, and encourages any potential scams to be reported to the Pella Police Department.