If you get a call from a stranger asking, “Can you hear me?” hang up the phone.
That’s what the Better Business Bureau is advising consumers who might become victims of the latest scam it says is circulating the country.
The con aims to get victims to say the word “yes” so scammers can record it. The affirmative response is used by the fraudster to authorize unwanted charges — whether it’s to a credit card, a cable or phone account or subscriptions.
Here’s how it works: You might receive a call from someone — recent reports say the scammers are claiming they’re from a home security agency, a cruise line or associated with Social Security. After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly. If you answer “yes,” there’s a possibility the scam artist has recorded you and will use the response to sign you up for a product or service, and then demand payment. If you refuse to pay, the caller may use your recorded “yes” to confirm your purchase agreement.
In many cases, the scammers already have the person’s phone number, which can be used to authorize third-party charges; or they may have a victim’s credit card number or cable bill as the result of a data breach. When the victim disputes any charges to an account, the scammer can counter that they have your consent on a recorded line.
Businesses were targeted by the scam last year, but targeting consumers is a new trend.
If you are targeted by this scam, the BBB recommends hanging up, even if you are unsure.
» If you receive a call that sounds similar or asks questions seeking affirmation, avoid responding with “yes,” “sure” or “OK.”
» If you are asked a similar question on the phone or are asked to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call registry, just hang up. Saying anything may help the scam artist identify that you have an active phone number. No government agency will ever solicit for the Do Not Call registry.
» Write down the phone number of callers with this behavior and file a scam report with the BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker/us or by calling 800-649-6814.
» Check your credit card, phone and cable statements carefully for any unfamiliar charges. If you suspect you have been victimized, call the billing company and dispute anything you did not authorize. The earlier you identify the unauthorized charges on your account, the easier it will be to recover any lost money.
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