Two MTA members have contacted us who were targeted by scammers claiming to be hearing impaired and requesting work to be carried out on their car. Importantly, they then ask the business to pay a towing company on their behalf.
Reports are that the scammers use the National Relay Service (NRS), a telephone service provided to the hearing impaired, in order to make contact with the business. They may also pretend to be undergoing medical treatment for their hearing disability and claim this is preventing them from leaving the hospital to bring the car to the repairer or pay the towing company.
In some cases, the scammer might claim to be based interstate but is possibly relocating to WA. In these instances, they may ask for help to pay a shipping company rather than a towing company.
After making initial contact to request the repair work, the scammer will offer to pay money via a stolen credit card. They will ask the business to take an amount as a deposit to secure services to cover the cost of the payment to the towing or shipping company, for example, a $500 deposit and $1800 for the towing or shipping company.
The repair business will be asked to pay the fictitious towing or shipping company by an electronic payment system, which is virtually untraceable and often used by scammers.
If the business becomes involved in the scam, they will likely receive fake emails from the fake towing or shipping company. Phone numbers may be given but if called, the scammers may answer quoting the name of the bogus towing or shipping company.
WA ScamNet’s advice to businesses is:
- Never pay money via wire transfer to help a customer access the goods or services you are selling.
- Be cautious when dealing with overseas or interstate orders and independently verify who you are dealing with before sending money or goods. If doubtful, do not proceed with the order. Be sceptical if normal banking processes are not available.
- When accepting a credit card payment, check with the card issuer for authorisation to avoid accepting stolen credit card details