We recently became aware of a phone scam that seems to be gaining attention. Because we care about your well-being, we wanted to share information on the “Can you hear me” scam.
While there are mixed reports on the extent of this scam, it’s still getting lots of attention of late.
This scam is evidently intended to get you to respond “yes” so it can be recorded and possibly used to sign you up for services you didn’t order or to authorize purchases on your phone account or even to simply confirm that you answer calls from unknown numbers. The goal is to get you to say “yes” so the robocaller asks a simple question like “can you hear me ok?” The natural, nearly automatic response for most people asked that question would be a simple “yes.” Do that, and they’ve got you.
If you get a call and you’re asked any version of “can you hear me” or any other question that solicits an instinctive “yes” response such as “are you the homeowner,” either hang up without saying anything at all or respond with something other than “yes” such as “who is calling” or “why are you asking.” The best bet is to hang up without saying anything at all, note the number and report it, if possible.
There have been an increasing number of complaints being filed with the Better Business Bureau through their ScamTracker about the “can you hear me” scam in several states, including Wisconsin.
Here are a few tips taken directly from the BBB that might help you avoid becoming a victim of this and other phone scams:
- Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.
- If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?”, do NOT answer “yes.” Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “yes” answer.
- Make a note of the number and report it to bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others. BBB also shares Scam Tracker information with government and law enforcement agencies, so every piece of information is helpful in tracking down scammers.
- Consider joining the Do Not Call Registry (DoNotCall.gov) to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. This may not help with scammers since they don’t bother to pay attention to the law, but you’ll get fewer calls overall. That may help you more quickly notice the ones that could be fraudulent.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good idea to check your telephone and cell phone bills, as well. Scammers may be using the “Yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.
The BBB advises to check your account statements frequently in the event you do fall for a similar scam or provide personal information in an unsolicited phone call. The earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money. For more tips on identifying scams and past scam alerts, visit bbb.org.