“Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam Warning

“Yes.” That one simple word can turn your piggy bank upside down and rob you of your money and here’s why: The Federal Communications Commission is warning consumers about a new phone scam that will record your voice reply of “Yes” as a voice signature to your funds.

The conversation can start out as harmless as “Are you the homeowner?” but the most common phrase has been “Can you hear me?”  If and when you reply “Yes”, your response hands them all the information they need without a social security number or credit card.  The voice recording is an imitation of you used to access your financial information and cash you out.

The deceitful callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service such as home security, utilities, or mortgage lender to establish a valid reason for trying to reach the consumer. Robocalls are the number one consumer complaint to the FCC from the public with an estimated 2.4 billion calls to people a month.

What you should do, according to the FCC? Hang up immediately. Or better yet, don’t answer a call from an unknown number. If you have gotten a call like this, review your credit card and telephone bills, as well as your bank statements for unauthorized charges.

Here are more tips from the FCC to follow:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents.
  • If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so we can help identify and take appropriate action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers.
  • Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. You can also visit the FCC’s website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls. Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry.

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About the Author: Ann Nguyen