If you pick up the phone and hear a stranger asking, “Can you hear me?” you need to hang up immediately. Most importantly, do not answer the question.
This is the latest phone scam that has law enforcement agencies on red alert. Like the one-ring hangup phone scam, its just the latest twist on a classic con to dupe innocent people out of their money.
The Better Business Bureau recently published a post warning people about the risks of answering the phone when a scammer is on the other end. According the BBB, scammers will place calls to potential marks by asking the question, “Can you hear me?” The goal is to get the victim to answer, “Yes.”
The moment you respond in the affirmative, the scammer can record your voice. They can then use your own words and voice to trap you into shady financial agreements.
So far, there have been no confirmed reports of people in the US falling for the scam, but many have reported receiving these suspicious calls.
Scroll through to learn what you can do to protect yourself.
Better Business Bureau is making waves on the internet lately with an article that exposes the latest phone scam that might put everyday citizens at risk.
According to the BBB, there is a new scam circulating where scammers call up potential victims and ask, “Can you hear me?”
The instinctive response to this question is “Yes.” That’s how the scammers get you.
Police departments all over the country have picked up the BBB’s warning. Some have noted that there aren’t any reported cases of people in the US falling victim to the scam yet.
There may be no victims, but according to Snopes, plenty of folks have reported attempted scammers calling them up and trying to get their attention.
That means that the risk of the scam is still real, even if it hasn’t been successful yet. Everyone should be on alert for strange phone calls from unknown numbers.
Here’s how the potential scam works:
You receive a call from an unfamiliar number and pick up. The voice on the other end (which may be a robocall) will ask, “Can you hear me?” or some variation on the same question.
Then, the mark answers, “Yes.” The scammer records that assent, and uses it to sign up the victim for an unwanted service like a cruise line or a home security product.
If someone falls into the trap and says yes, the scammer might start billing them for services they never actually signed up for.
They might call back demanding money or intimidating the victim into handing over their credit card billing information, by using their voice recording as “proof” that they actually did willingly sign up for the service.
Fortunately, a faked voice agreement doesn’t really mean you signed up for anything, even if you do say yes by mistake.
The BBB has some great advice for avoiding these robocallers completely.
When your phone rings, don’t pick up if it’s a number you don’t recognize. If you do pick up, and hear the telltale question, simply hang up without saying anything.
They may also give you an option to be put on a “do not call” list, but don’t select that option either. They will still keep calling, and now they know your phone line is active.
If you answer “yes” by mistake, just operating on instinct, don’t panic. You don’t owe the caller any money just because they may have a voice recording of you confirming something.
They might sign you up for some service and start sending you bills, but unless you give them your credit card information, no money will actually leave your account.
If you’re receiving calls demanding payment or trying to dupe you, write down the number and report it to the BBB ScamTracker and to the Federal Trade Commission.
It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on your phone bill and on your credit card statement after receiving one of these calls.
Just in case they somehow get your financial information, watch out for strange, fraudulent charges that you may need to dispute with your card company.
According to Fox News, everyone should take the following precautions to be safe from phone scams:
- Do not answer the phone from numbers you do not recognize.
- Do not give out personal information.
- Do not confirm your number over the phone.
- Do not answer questions over the phone.
Make sure to stay very alert to all phone scams, and SHARE this information with everyone you know!
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