FCC sues AT&T for Nigerian TDD scams [telecom]

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AT&T provides a TDD relay service for which the government reimburses the
costs.  According to the WSJ, the Justice Department is suing AT&T for
fraudulent reimbursement claims.

TDD relay has a dreadful problem with Nigerians calling and defrauding
people.  The FCC required that operators register users and verify that
they're in the US.  The suit claims that AT&T deliberately uses a
registration scheme that doesn't keep out crooks, and as a result 95%
(NINETY FIVE PERCENT) of their TDD calls are Nigerian fraud.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304636404577297454154404874.html

Regards,
John Levine, johnl@iecc.com, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies",
Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly


Re: FCC sues AT&T for Nigerian TDD scams [telecom]
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This is a combination of a "no good deed goes unpunished" and a Tragedy
of the Commons problem. TDD has always been offered on a no-questions
asked basis, with the facilitator simply reading the TDD side, and typing
in the spoken side.

It's set up with the idea that even though there's an extra person in
the loop, the deaf person has the same privacy as a hearing person using
the phone system.

Exactly how DO you "keep out crooks" here? I don't think there's a magic
solution when there's so many ways of tunneling to a US phone line or
internet address from anywhere in the world. *
--
* PV    Something like badgers, something like lizards, and something
        like corkscrews.


Re: FCC sues AT&T for Nigerian TDD scams [telecom]
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Here is a more complete article:
<http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-22/at-and-t-accused-of-improperly-billing-u-dot-s-dot-program-for-deaf
-or-
http://tinyurl.com/7of6knb

Intresting factoid -- claim is that AT&T erroneously billed $16 million to the
U.S. Gov't. for non-US-origin 'relay' services calls over several years. DOJ is
seeking 'treble damages'.  RICO ??


Re: FCC sues AT&T for Nigerian TDD scams [telecom]
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False Claims Act

R's,
John


Re: FCC sues AT&T for Nigerian TDD scams [telecom]
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I have many deaf friends who tell me that they can no longer use the TDD
service because as soon as people hear the announcement that they are
receiving a relay call, they hang up.

So, this abuse has made the service unusable for the people it was intended
to help.

I'm not surprised that this has become the case, and I'm not surprised that
AT&T has made no attempt to stop it.  However, I am very very surprised that
AT&T would attempt to make the case that they didn't know what was going on.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."


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