Beware of ‘Can you hear me?’ scam

Previously, the Better Business Bureau saw this scam directed toward businesses, but consumers across the country just began reporting the phone scam.

Reports of this scam that the Better Business Bureau first became aware of late last year, has been rapidly increasing across the country in the last few days. The bureau is warning consumers not to respond if they receive a call and the caller asks “Can You Hear Me?” Answering in the affirmative is all a scammer could need to capitalize on the latest scam.

This is how the scam works. You receive a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction about a business or agency they supposedly represent. Scam reports have indicated that the callers have represented themselves as being from various companies, such as a home security agency, a cruise line or sometimes from the government. After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly.

If you answer “yes” there’s a possibility that the scam artist behind the phone call has recorded you and will use your agreement to sign you up for a product or service and then demand payment. If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded “yes” response to confirm your purchase agreement, the bureau said.

There are other ways scammers might get you to say yes such as:

  • Are you the homeowner?
  • Are you over 18?
  • Do you pay the household bills?
  • Do you have a home computer?

Keep in mind, a scammer may already have gotten their hands on some of your personal information, such as credit card numbers, which they can use in tandem with your recorded affirmation to push through charges, the bureau said.

How to Protect Yourself:

  • First and foremost, do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. If it’s a legitimate contact, they will leave a message. Even if a scammer leaves a message, this will give you time to think about what is being asked of you.
  • If you do answer and are asked questions that seem to be fishing for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, do not respond and hang up immediately.
  • For this scam, and all others, never give out any personal identifying information over the phone when you are not sure of the caller.
  • If you believe you may have fallen for this, contact your bank and credit card companies to flag your accounts. Check your account daily – the earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money.
  • Write down the phone number of those callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with BBB Scam Tracker and the FTC’s Do Not Call List.
  • If you have questions or concerns about this or any other scam, call the New Jersey BBB office at 609-588-0808.

Additional information can be found at BBB.org.

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By: Jay Edwards
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