Avoid This Mistake When an Unknown Caller Asks “Can You Hear Me?”

Nancy Messieh 17-03-2017

Telemarketers and robocalls are annoying enough How to Stop Annoying Telemarketers & Robocalls From Calling You Are you tired of being called by prerecorded messages and robots? Here's why that happens and what you can do to stop them. Read More without having to worry about being scammed when you pick up your phone. One of the more recent scams to look out for is where the caller asks, “Can you hear me?”


The scam, which is making the rounds in several U.S. states, is pretty simple: you answer your phone and the person on the other end asks if you can hear them. If you answer Yes, they will use that recording as evidence that you authorized a payment or agreed to sign up for a service.

The easiest way to avoid these scams is to simply not answer blocked or unknown numbers. But that’s not an option for all of us, so if you have to take those calls, just be sure not to respond to that question with a Yes.

Avoid This Mistake When an Unknown Caller Asks "Can You Hear Me?" TelephoneScam 670x407

There may be other variations on the question, but the goal of the scammer is always the same: to get you to say Yes. So if they ask any questions that require it, make sure to answer the question in another way. For example, if they ask “Can you hear me?” you can simply respond with “I can hear you.”

The scam has been reported in Virginia, Florida, and Pennsylvania, with police warning against the scam, but Snopes says that there is no indication that the scam has been successful. In any case, there’s no harm in being cautious and not answering the question.


The Federal Trade Commission offers some tips on what scammers could say:

  • You’ve been specially selected (for this offer).
  • You’ll get a free bonus if you buy our product.
  • You’ve won one of five valuable prizes.
  • You’ve won big money in a foreign lottery.
  • This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
  • You have to make up your mind right away.
  • You trust me, right?
  • You don’t need to check our company with anyone.
  • We’ll just put the shipping and handling charges on your credit card.

If you’ve received a call like this, you should file a complaint with the FTC.

Have you received this kind of phone call? What tips do you have for avoiding telemarketing scams? Let us know in the comments. 

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  1. Chad
    July 16, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    I got the call. And said Yes. Now what?
    Nothing !

  2. Eric D
    March 20, 2017 at 8:19 am

    The best way to handle these calls is to keep them on the line while you carry on your business. If you hangup, they'll call someone else. So waste their time. The easiest way is to just say "hold on for a second", put the phone on the table and carry on with whatever you were doing. Every second they wait is lowering their profits.

  3. Lars Ross
    March 19, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Fell for it... The caller said he was from a Solar company and asked "I am speaking to the home owner correct? Dang, got me! I will be watching my Cell bill. Please all be careful.

  4. Daniel
    March 17, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I'm sorry but how, pray tell, are they going to charge me for a service if I never give them a credit card number?

    • Ken Mitchell
      March 17, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      They bill it to your phone number, like a 900 call. If they billed it to a credit card, it would be easy to have the charge reversed and a complaint filed. Your cell phone carrier is ALREADY terrible at customer service, and is a LOT less interested in a complaint about a bogus charge. And that's IF you noticed that your cellphone bill was unexpectedly higher than normal.

      • Trizia Williams
        April 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

        How would this work if they called your land-line?

  5. Ken Mitchell
    March 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    If anybody calls and asks "Can you hear me?", I usually respond with "You sound like a Verizon commercial!"