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Telemarketers and robocalls are annoying enough 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.
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.