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Posted on: February 15, 2017

Be Aware of the "Can You Hear Me?" Phone Scam

It’s being called the “Can you hear me?” scam and here’s how it works: You get a call from someone who almost immediately asks “Can you hear me?” Their goal is to get you to answer “Yes,” which most people would do instinctively in that situation. There may be some fumbling around; the person may even say something like “I’m having trouble with my headset.” But in fact, the “person” may just be a robocall recording your conversation… and that “Yes” answer you gave can later be edited to make it sound like you authorized a major purchase.

Scams like this have been reported all over the nation. So far, it is unclear if any losses have been incurred and it is unclear how the scam will play out over time but people who fall victim to this scam may be victimized at a later date. What can you do to avoid becoming a victim:

• Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers.

• Be aware of “spoofing” where scammers can make calls look like they are coming from legitimate or local numbers. If the call is important, someone will leave you a message so don’t worry about not picking up.

• 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.

• Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry (DoNotCall.gov) to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. Since scammers don’t obey the law it may not cut down on the number of scam calls you get, but you’ll get fewer calls overall.

• 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.

Tell your family and friends about this very real scam and educate them on how to avoid becoming a victim. Prevention and awareness are the best defense in this case.

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