The “Can You Hear Me?” phone scam has generated a lot of interest and concern in recent weeks but do you really have to be worried about it?
This scam has been reported recently by USA Today, NBC News, CBS News, Boston television stations and newspapers across the country including last Sunday’s Globe.
People around the country have reported receiving a phone call from someone who claims to be from a home security agency, cruise line, Social Security Administration, or another agency or business. The scam caller starts the conversation with: “can you hear me?”
If you reply “Yes” which most of us would say automatically, the scammer supposedly records your answer and uses it to sign you up for a product or service. When an invoice arrives in the mail demanding payment and you call the listed number to protest the charge, the scammers say they have your recorded “yes” confirming the purchase. Some folks are worried that by simply saying “yes” they might be out hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
<strong>Should you be worried?</strong> I don’t think so!!! Snopes.com – one of my favorite sites to dispel rumors, scams and even urban legends posted that there is no evidence of individuals losing money or having their identities stolen due to this scam, only that some people have received phone calls. http://www.snopes.com/can-you-hear-me-scam/
This type of scam has previously been targeted at businesses. The business ends up receiving invoices or bills in the mail for products or services they didn’t order. Even though they are not legally required to pay a bill for any product or service they did not order, sometimes the business owners are so scared of the thought of debt collectors, they pay the bill.
To take money from you, the scammers would need other personal information to successfully charge items on their credit card or take money from their bank account. In those cases and with that information, a recorded “yes” wouldn’t be needed anyway. Even if such a scenario existed, it’s hard to imagine why scammers would need to utilize an actual audio recording of the victim’s repeating the word “yes” rather than simply providing that verbal response themselves.
As far as I know, phone companies, utility companies, and credit card issuers don’t maintain databases of voice recordings of their customers and use them to perform real-time audio matching to verify identities during customer service calls.
If you or a family member gets this type of phone call, your best bet is to simply hang up. Make it a habit to just hang up every time you get an unsolicited phone call from any organization or business. Don’t let these scammers waste your time.