News Show Highlights Scam Dogging Glass Industry
The problem of thieves using IT Relay programs designed for the
deaf to steal millions of dollars was highlighted today on NBC's
TODAY show. A report by correspondent Lisa Meyers detailed the scam
that is plaguing thousands of businesses in the country, including
the glass industry.
The report detailed the way IT Relay works. The user, who is usually
deaf, goes to a free website and types in the phone number they
wish to call and the message they wish to relay. An operator then
calls the number and reads the message. Any reply messages are typed
by the operator and sent back to the user.
But, a majority of the 22 million calls being made annually are
being made by thieves who can dial in from overseas at no charge
secure in the knowledge that their voice will never be heard and
their calls are untraceable. The scammers-most often from Nigeria--
order items using stolen credit cards and, Meyers estimates, bilk
U.S. businesses out of billions each year.
What's worse, according to Meyers, is that the Relay system is
funded by taxpayers through a utility tax paid by telephone users
to fund the system. $92.5 million in such taxes were collected last
year. The law does not allow any records of the calls being made
through IT Relay to be kept, nor does it allow operators to comment
on the content of what they are relaying. Operators who work the
Relay say the vast majority of calls are from thieves. "I feel
like I helped steal millions of dollars, and there was nothing I
could do about it," said one operator.
To see the video of the report, click
here then go to "Scammers Abusing Program for the Deaf"