“Can you hear me?” It’s a common phrase used while people are talking over phone, yet it could end up making you the victim of a scam if you answer the question with a “yes.”
ABC 7 reports that fraudsters have came up with a clever way to access people’s credit cards and other information just by having them say “yes.” If you say “yes” during one of these fraudulent calls, scammers, who already have your cell phone number, now have your voice affirming that it’s OK to authorize charges on a credit card or for a cruise you’ll never take or even a home security system you never ordered. When you try to argue the bill, your voice, affirming that you did indeed authorize the purchases, will likely be played back to you.
Beware new "can you hear me" phone scam https://t.co/flivubjOnd
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 27, 2017
According to Officer Jo Ann Hughes with the Norfolk Police Department, the scammers will typically introduce themselves as a local business or an organization that you may be familiar with. This helps to “warm you up” before they ask if you can hear them. Most times, the fraudsters call from a number with the same area code as the person they’re calling.
“All of us, our natural response is to say, ‘Yes,’ or ‘Sure,’ or ‘Yes I can.'”
Hughes said that you should never, under any circumstances, say any variation of the above phrases to callers that you don’t know. She also stated that it’s becoming more difficult to catch these fraudsters because victims are embarrassed of having been duped.
“A lot of times, victims do not want to come forward because they are embarrassed. They feel like, ‘It was my fault. I should have known better,’ and they are just embarrassed by it all together. So we do not get a whole lot of reports, unfortunately.”
Police provided tips on how you and your loved ones can ensure you’re not the next victim of the phone scam.
- Never answer calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize
- Never answer questions over the phone
- Never confirm your phone number over the phone
If you do answer your phone, and you think you’re about to be duped, Hughes suggests telling the caller that you know about their scam. They certainly won’t use your voice for any purchases if you’re calling them a scammer.
“We really want people to hear this. Say, ‘Look, I just heard about this scam on TV’ … and to hang up.”