Another nasty scam making the rounds is the so called ‘can you hear me?’ phone scam. This one is low-tech – no computer required – and has already targeted residents in Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania this year according to WNEP. Here’s what you need to know.
You receive a call from a number you don’t recognize although it’s usually a local area code. When you answer the phone you hear a simple question – ‘Can you hear me?’ If you answer ‘yes,’ it gets recorded. From that point there are a couple of ways the scam can go.
In one variant you are later charged for a variety of services or products and if you contest the charges, the scammers will play back your verbal confirmation ‘yes’ and threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay.
Another option is for the cybercriminals to try and use the recording to trick an automated system into authorizing charges on a stolen credit card or to give additional personal information.
So what should you do? While it seems impolite, if you get this call just hang up the phone. And for phone calls in general, follow this advice:
- Don’t answer the phone from numbers you don’t recognize
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call
- Don’t confirm your phone number over the phone unless you initiated the call
- Don’t answer questions over the phone unless you initiated the call
Spread the word especially to seniors you know. Everyone stay safe out there!