Beware of 'Can You Hear Me' Phone Scams Continuing to Target Unsuspecting Consumers

If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up

Talking on phone / Can You Hear Me phone scam
Image: Pixabay
March 30, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scam callers seeking to get victims to say the word "yes" during a call and later use a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges on the victim's utility or credit card account.

Callers Impersonate Legitimate Callers

According to the 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, to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.

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

The scam begins when a consumer 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 consumer's "Yes" response and thus obtains a voice signature. This signature can then be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.

Hang Up; Don't Say Anything

If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded to this type of call, review all of your statements such as those from your bank, credit card lender, or 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".

Report It

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

Helpful Tips

The agency stresses that consumers should always be on alert for telephone scams. The following tips can help ward off unwanted calls and scams:

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit 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 consumers 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.
  • Consider registering all of your telephone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry.
Get Connected with Consumer Connections

Stay up-to-date about issues that really matter! Get the Consumer Connections newsletter!

We're committed to providing you with information you need to make you a better, more informed consumer. Whether it's a vehicle recall, a product recall, or a new scam, we feature it in Consumer Connections.

So why not give it a try? Go on. All of your friends are doing it. It's completely free and comes just once a week.

You've finally filled out all the paperwork for a new or used car and drive it off the lot in triumph. Then, only a few hours (or days or weeks) later, the dealer calls you and tells you that you have to return the car because your financing didn't go through. What's going on? Is this legal? No.

According to the scam alert released by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are targeting unsuspecting consumers across the country by impersonating cable companies and taking advantage of subscribers' eagerness to save money on cable television services.

Do you know how to protect yourself against computer fraud? Most people think they can spot a scam, but scammers are getting better every day. It's now sometimes very difficult to know who is on the other end of the Internet and whether an email or website is truly legitimate.

We use our phones to do all kinds of things. But those who use USB charging stations may want to think twice before checking off the first two items on that list. Security researchers have discovered a way to hack into smartphones using USB stations and view and record everything that is displayed on the screen.