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Attorney General Marty Jackley

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Attorney General Larry Long Warns SD Businesses of Telephone Scam


(Pierre) – Attorney General Larry Long is warning South Dakota businesses to be cautious of a new phone scam. Local businesses have been receiving phone calls for large quantity orders through “relay operators.” Relay operators are typically used by the hearing impaired, but in this case it is someone perpetrating a fraud. 

“These international scam artists are tapping into a vital service for the hearing impaired,” said Long. “They attempt to order items such as computer parts, office supplies, cameras, clothing and even vitamins and they play on your sympathy to obtain them.” 

The callers will use a credit card as their choice of payment. Initially the credit card numbers may appear valid only because they have not yet been reported as stolen. Once they are reported stolen the charges will be reversed. The local business is then responsible for the chargeback in addition to the loss of merchandise which has already been shipped. 

To ensure that you do not become a victim of this scam be cautious of any relay phone call that might include the following: 

• The caller wants products fast (“can you ship it today?”)
• Multiple units ordered and asked for in “pieces” (1000 t-shirts is “1000 pieces”)
• Lack of knowledge of the product
• Lack of questions about the product
• Not concerned about price
• Poor grammar or spelling is used
• Uses American names in reverse (last name as first, first as last)
• Repeatedly calls via Relay to rush the order
• Refuses to wire money directly to you
• Often poses as a religious or charitable organization  

The international callers will never provide a valid phone number; they will only communicate through Relay or email. To avoid this scam ask the caller to call back using State Relay, instead of I.P. Relay which is a free service. This will ensure the caller is not attempting fraud. The State Relay requires a TTY phone and the foreign scammers do not have these phones nor will they pay for a long distance call. 

South Dakota businesses with questions or concerns about this scam should contact the Division of Consumer Protection at or 1-800-300-1986.