Beware the “Can You Hear Me” Calls Are a Scam!
It’s been mentioned before on our sister station, KROC AM, but it bears repeating because the complaints are still coming in.
If you ever get a phone call and the person on the other line says, “Can you hear me?” HANG UP! It’s a scam.
They may also say “Are you there?” or “Is this you?”
It’s a scam that’s nationwide and they’re looking for a “Yes” response from you. But if you do say “Yes” it may leave you on the hook for more nuisance calls and maybe even unauthorized charges.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, here’s how the scam works
It varies, but it always begins with a call, usually from a telephone number that appears to be local. When the person answers the call, the scam artist tries to get the person to say “yes”—most often by asking, “Can you hear me?” “Is this the lady of the house?” or a similar question. By responding “yes,” people notify robo-callers that their number is an active telephone number that can be sold to other telemarketers for a higher price. This then leads to more unwanted calls.
In some cases, the F.T.C. reports, the caller may record you saying “yes.” They then potentially may be able to use that recording to claim that you authorized charges to your or account.
Scammers can access your account because some companies share the information with third party companies or allow third parties to charge customers’ accounts (called “cramming”) in exchange for payment. Scam artists may also obtain financial information from data breaches or leaks or through identity theft.
So, what do you do?
Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission is recommending:
- Check phone numbers closely. Scam artists spoof calls to make them appear to be from a local telephone number. Even if a number appears to be local, it is best to avoid calls from numbers with which you are not familiar.
- Hang up. If you answer a call that seems suspicious, hang up. Remember, “Minnesota Nice” does not apply to scammers. It is not rude to hang up abruptly on a suspicious caller.
- Carefully review your financial statements and telephone bills. Whether or not you have been targeted by a scam, it is a good idea to review your bills line-by-line for unauthorized or fraudulent activity. The law provides some protection for people to dispute unauthorized charges to their credit cards and bank accounts, but these laws generally impose time limits. It is important to check right away for charges you did not make or approve so you have time to file a dispute.
Then, if you receive a call that may be part of this scam, report it to the F.T.C., either online or by phone at 877-382-4357 or www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
You can also contact the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson,
651-296-3353 or 800-657-3787, TTY: 651-297-7206 or 800-366-4812