A reader: My home phone rang, I picked it up and the caller said, “Can you hear me now?” I replied “Yes,” and they hung up on me. Do you know anything about this?
Action Line: Actually, yes. In the last week or so, BBB Scamtracker has received many reports from consumers just like yourself who received mysterious calls, asking, “Can you hear me now?” Please note, this is not associated with the well-known cell service provider that used this for advertising purposes. We issued a warning last week about just this topic.
BBB warns that saying “Yes” can cost you as the scammer behind the call may have recorded you to use your confirmation to sign you up for a product or service then demand payment. If you refuse the scammers will try threatening you with legal action and produce your recorded “Yes” response as your confirmation.
In another variation of this scam the scammer can charge your accounts as they may already have your personal information on hand through a prior data breach and that recording may be used to authorize charges. If you try and dispute them, they may also produce the recording as proof you agreed to charges.
Reports to BBB Scam Tracker show the scam popping up in California with reports in San Bernardino County and potential scams in Merced County as well. The victims so far have not lost any money, but everyone still should stay cautious.
BBB recommends the following tips to protect yourself from being the latest victim of this scam.
▪ If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?” do not answer “Yes,” just hang up. The caller may even ask different questions designed for you to respond with “Yes.” If they seem to be fishing for a “yes” or “no” answer do not respond and hang up immediately. The scammer can even be looking for you to say “OK” instead of “yes.”
▪ Never give any personal information over the phone unless you initiated the phone call yourself and have verified the number beforehand.
▪ Write down the phone number of those violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with BBB Scam Tracker and the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List.
▪ If you are asked to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call Registry just hang up the phone. Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help the scam artists identify you have an active phone number.
▪ If you believe you may have fallen for this scam, contact your local authorities, your bank and credit card companies immediately. Also, check your accounts daily for any suspicious charges.
Remember that no government agency will ever solicit you for the Do Not Call Registry, or harass you into paying them money.
If you have any questions about this or any other scams contact your BBB at 800-675-8118. To view current scams or to report any suspected scam visit BBB Scam Tracker.
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.