Scambuster: ‘Can You Hear Me’ scam


It’s something you wouldn’t think twice about. When someone asks you a yes or no question on the phone, you may answer without even asking who it is. That’s what’s happening with this new scam. Someone calls you up, asks “can you hear me?” and you say yes, and that’s all they need.

“Essentially they’re looking for you to say yes so they can use your recorded voice as an affirmative response to maybe make a charge on a credit card or to make a charge on your phone bill or have you authorize something that you’re not authorizing,” says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

Thieves might already have your credit card number–they just need your voice for those purchases that may require an extra level of protection. And the question they ask may vary, it may not always be “can you hear me?”

“They’ll ask you a simple question, are you the man of the house, are you the woman of the house, do you pay the bills in the house, they’re looking for you to say yes,” says Mahoney.

Really anything to get you to say yes. Bottom line—if it’s someone you don’t know, don’t answer yes to a question. It takes vigilance, but you’re better off being safe than sorry.

“Hang up. It’s not rude, it’s protecting yourself. Don’t say yes, just hang up, that’s what they’re trying to do is illicit a response from you,” says Mahoney.

If you think you’ve fallen victim to this scam, first, contact the Better Business Bureau and report it. Then, check your bank and credit card statements for awhile for any unauthorized purchases—and check your phone bill too. Scammers may use your voice to order services on your cell phone plan.

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