IP-Relay Restaurant Scam Warning

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A local restaurant calls 12 after it's nearly taken for hundreds of dollars. The caller used a system called IP-Relay, designed to help the hearing impaired.

Crooks are misusing the system and there are some warning signs. Melanie Williams, General Manager for Made in Asia, in Chesterfield says a recent call was not the typical order. She's convinced it was a scam. She's sounding the alarm to other restaurants.

"Be careful, if they don't want to email you, if they don't want to trace it back to them, if they are not giving you any actual information. Those red flags are there for a reason and trust your instinct," she said.

Williams says the caller used IP-Relay, a service designed to help people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have a speech disability communicate.

"I believe they were using the system. I don't believe they were hearing impaired at all," Williams said.

Williams says the caller quickly moved from the IP-Relay system to a chat service. She showed us some of the text filled with grammatical errors. The transaction started out fine -- but then the caller asked the restaurant to help pay.

"They started going into a sob story and said they had lung cancer and they couldn't do it and the food carrier didn't take credit cards," she told us.

The caller even offered to throw in a two hundred dollar tip if Williams would help. After all the charges cleared, Williams was to send the caller the left over money!

"They wanted us to wire the money Western Union Money Carrier, which then I knew that was it. I was like, we are not doing that and the minute I said we are not doing that, we can only provide this, they said thank you and just left," Williams explained.

The General Manager believes the caller was using a stolen credit card. The Federal Communication Commission says be on alert for these red flags.

*The caller supplies multiple credit cards

*Can't provide the credit card verification code number

*Wants the merchandise shipped through a third party

*And will not identify himself or give a company name

"I would have easily fallen for it if I hadn't know these steps. It seemed very legitimate. I don't personally feel upset because I caught it but it does bother me because it could affect other restaurants that are privately owned that are not corporate, that really work for that money," said Williams.

For more on IP-Relay and the safety tips visit the links below.

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