Phone scams are all the rage these days. Just when you think you’ve caught up with all of them, another one manages to sneak onto the scam artist circuit. Phone scams are nothing new either, as they were around long before cell phones graced us with their presence. They are just a tad more prevalent and easily accessible through the use of cell phones, and it doesn’t help that our personal information is more visible than ever before with the internet’s constant presence in our lives. The majority of people shop online now, which adds to that personal information being more vulnerable than ever before. Phone numbers, addresses, credit card info and email addresses are on display for criminals to take and use whenever they want.
The most recent phone scam that has made its way into the criminal circuit involves a few familiar words…”Can you hear me?” We’ve all heard those words across a cell phone while driving through a choppy service area, so it’s really nothing new and alarming, which is why it has worked on several innocent victims. But, instead of answering the question, authorities are advising you to hang up immediately. The scammer’s goal is to get the phone owner to say “yes,” so they can record their voice and use it for future purchases or other financial transactions on your dime.
The word “yes,” means a lot when it comes to conversing with financial institutions online that use recordings to communicate with customers, so it’s not all that shocking that criminals have found a way to use this one simple word to get them some unearned money and purchases. Your voice saying “yes,” authorizes a whole lot of things, including the authority to confirm account changes, make purchases in your name or transfer money. And as long as you say yes when the scammer calls, they are able to add their own script and insert your “yes,” into it, approving all phone transactions.
Authorities are offering the following advice to save yourself from this scam and other scams like it…
- Try not to answer numbers that show up as “unknown” on your phone. Let it go to voicemail, but if you must answer it, avoid answering any questions, especially those that prompt you to say “yes.” Some of the known questions are: “Are you a homeowner?” or “Can you hear me?” Be on your game and ask a question instead, such as “Who are you and why do you want to know?
- Simply hang up when you feel uncomfortable on a phone call.
- Do not, by any means offer your personal information to strangers on the phone, even if the person on the other end is claiming to work for your car insurance company or your financial institution.
- Change the settings on your phone so all unknown calls go directly to voicemail. There should be a setting on your phone that allows this. Scammers seldom leave voicemails so you don’t have to worry about them after the call goes to voicemail.
In the video below, several people were interviewed on how they would react when asked the question “Can you hear me?” The majority said that they would, in fact probably answer “yes.”