In their Report and Order released June 29, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted rules that prohibit the temporary authorization of IP Relay users, other than emergency callers. All new users must have a verified registration and eligibility information on file before a service provider may issue a 10-digit number providing access to IP Relay.
The ruling is in response to large numbers of fraudulent users of IP Relay who were issued temporary registrations that allowed them to have access to IP Relay services before their registration was verified. Apparently, individuals with no hearing loss were using the anonymity of the IP Relay service to call merchants and place orders using fake, stolen or otherwise invalid credit cards. According to the FCC, “such abuse not only drains the TRS Fund that supports these services, but also harms legitimate consumers whose calls are rejected by individuals and businesses that have been victims of such misuse”. Purple Communications in their comments to the FCC reported that “over 80% of its newly-registered IP Relay users were eventually deactivated after they failed the verification process.” Once deactivated, the fraudsters would simply re-apply for a temporary registration under another assumed name.
The FCC’s actions become effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register. The FCC also noted they will be considering the adoption of more specific IP Relay verification requirements.