A phone scam called the “can you hear me” scam is being reported in various states. The Racine Police Department has received a couple of calls from citizens reporting that they have received this type of call. Please see the below excerpt from the BBB which goes into this scam in detail.
By Sandra Guile
The phone rings but the number is unfamiliar. You answer it and the voice on the other end of the line asks “Can you hear me?” You can, so you respond with a simple “yes.” Unfortunately, that answer may cause problems you weren’t expecting
BBB’s Scam Tracker has received several reports in the Greater Cincinnati area about calls that follow the same pattern. The caller’s goal is to get the person who answers to instinctively say “yes” to their question.
That “yes” can be recorded and edited to make it sound like the victim authorized a major purchase without their knowledge or consent. People who have reported this scam have mentioned that there may be some additional noise on the call – like a short phrase or fumbling of a headset – but it’s more likely that this is a robocall and that those sounds are there to make the caller seem more human.
This scam has been occurring more frequently recently, leaving many people wondering what they can do to prevent it from happening to them. BBB recommends people use caller ID to screen incoming calls to determine whether or not the number is familiar; calls from unknown numbers should be sent to voicemail.
If the call is truly important, they’ll leave a message and you’ll have the option to call them back.
However, should you answer a call and someone asks if you can hear them, simply hang up.
It may feel impolite to do so, but it could keep you from being charged for big-ticket items or agreeing to sign up for a monthly service unknowingly. Scammers are most likely using these “yes” recordings to authorize charges on your phone.
They may also ! try to change tactics as their methods are exposed, so be alert for unknown callers that ask simple yes or no questions. Report the number to bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others about the new tactics being used, then keep an eye on your financial accounts and phone bills for unauthorized charges.
BBB 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. While scammers will most likely still make it through, you may receive fewer solicitation calls overall, making it easier to spot the fraudulent ones.