Beware of 'Can You Hear Me' Telephone Scams That Are Still Targeting Unsuspecting Consumers
Image: Pexels

Beware of 'Can You Hear Me' Telephone Scams That Are Still Targeting Unsuspecting Consumers

If you receive this type of call, don't say anything, hang up immediately, and then report it to the federal authorities

May 27, 2020

If you get a phone call and the caller asks if you can hear her, what would you say? Most people would answer the question. But these kinds recorded calls are still making the rounds, targeting unsuspecting victims who don't know any better and give an answer. That's all the crooks want so they can later use a recording of your response to authorize unwanted charges on one or more of your accounts.

Scammers Impersonate Legitimate Callers

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender or utility. They use these fake identities to to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the victim.

Can You Hear Me? Is this So-and-So?

The scam begins when a victim answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, "Can you hear me" or "is this so-and-so?" The caller then records the victim's answer and uses it as a voice signature. This signature can then be used by the scammers to pretend to be the victim and to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.

Don't Say Anything and hang up

If you receive this type of call, hang up right away. You don't want to say anything. If you have already responded to this type of call, review all of your statements, such as those from your bank, credit card company, and telephone company, for unauthorized charges. If you notice unauthorized charges on these and other types of statements, you have likely been a victim of "cramming." Dispute them right away.

Report It

Anyone who believes they have been targeted by this scam should immediately report the incident to the FCC.

Helpful Tips

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail. If it's something important, the caller will leave a message.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to press a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify and then target live respondents.
  • If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so it can help identify and take appropriate action to help others targeted by illegal callers.
  • Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one. You can also visit the FCC's website for information and resources on available robocall blocking tools to help reduce unwanted calls.