Hearing-Impaired Phone Scam Spreads

August 25, 2004

Hearing-Impaired Phone Scam Spreads

The Jewelers' Security Alliance reports thousands of jewelers have been subjected to calls from thieves posing as hearing-impaired consumers using an operator-assisted service to request jewelry and use fradulent credit card information to complete the transaction. Though many jewelers have rejected such orders, some have shipped jewelry before finding out the cards were fakes.

The calls often come from Nigerians gangs who have victimized the jewelry industry for years, says JSA. With these new hearing-impaired calls, the calls often originate from Nigeria or other African nations, and the request is often made to ship the jewelry to Nigeria or another African location. However, some calls appear to originate from the U.S. and shipments are occasionally made to a local address. Even after rejecting such orders, some jewelers continue to get requests for merchandise this way.

JSA warns jewelers to beware of Nigerian gang scams, as well as the risk inherent in all telephone credit card orders. The latest Nigerian scam is just a new wrinkle on an old fraud scheme, it says. Jewelers can report fraud attempts by the Nigerian gangs to local police and the U.S. Secret Service, which has jurisdiction for this type of crime. Find the Secret Service field office nearest you in your telephone directory or at www.secretservice.gov. If you obtain the credit card number of the person who calls you, you can report that number to the credit issuer.

For more information and to sign up for JSA's regular e-mail alerts, contact JSA, New York City, (800) 537-0067 or (212) 687-0328, www.jewelerssecurity.org.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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