Police Are Warning Against This Scary New Phone Scam

Hang Up on ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone Scam

Jan 27, 2017

Earlier this month security experts warned of a highly effective phishing email that fooled many Gmail customers into divulging their login credentials. Now, police say scammers are targeting our cell phones, too.

Con artists behind the scheme, which is being called the “can you hear me?” scam, call potential victims and ask a simple question: Can you hear me? The goal is to get the person on the other end of the line to say the word “yes.” Police say scammers record the affirmative response in an effort to use the recording to authorize fraudulent and unwanted charges.

Although criminals need more than a recorded “yes” to make purchases, they may already have access to credit card numbers and sensitive, identifying information that can be used to make charges. They can then use the recorded “yes” response in attempt to prove they gained your permission to make the charge.

Though it may be tempting to answer calls from an unknown number—what if it’s someone you know who needs to reach you in a pinch?—the surest way to protect yourself is to let these types of calls go to voicemail. Anyone who needs to reach you will call back or leave a voicemail. If you do decide to answer, always verify the caller and never give out personal information. (Though scammers may claim to be from a credit card company or a government agency, legitimate requests from these organizations will never be made over the phone.) You can also sign up for a service like Nomorobo, which analyzes your incoming calls and blocks any numbers with a high number of registered complaints.

If you suspect you may be victim of a scam like this one, check all bills—credit cards and utilities—thoroughly, and dispute any unrecognized charges immediately. If you discover unusual activity, you should also place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the credit reporting agencies.


Hang Up on ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone Scam

By Stephanie Mlot

January 27, 2017

Folks are advised to hang up if an unknown caller asks “Can you hear me?” or a similar yes/no question.

Once a simple noughties mobile carrier catchphrase, “Can you hear me?” has been resurrected as a phone scam.

Police in several states are warning folks to simply hang up if an unknown caller asks “Can you hear me?”

The scam, which began late last year, tricks victims into saying “yes”—an affirmative command swindlers can record and use to authorize unwanted charges on a phone or utility bill or credit card, according to CBS News.

Historically directed toward businesses, the Pittsburgh Better Business Bureau (BBB) in October reported consumer complaints, citing unsolicited robocalls from “an employee” of a home security agency, cruise line, or social security firm.

Criminals may also use phrases like, “Are you the lady of the house?”; “Do you pay the household telephone bills?”; or “Are you the homeowner?”

“You say ‘yes,’ it gets recorded and they say that you have agreed to something,” Susan Grant, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), told CBS. “I know that people think it’s impolite to hang up, but it’s a good strategy.”

The BBB last fall provided the same advice: “Just hang up.”

(It has gotten to such a point that we don’t answer the phone unless we recognize the telephone number and let the system answer if the person wants to leave a number.)




About kommonsentsjane

Enjoys sports and all kinds of music, especially dance music. Playing the keyboard and piano are favorites. Family and friends are very important.
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