Receiving a call from a random number is something that almost all people that own a cell phone are familiar with. Sometimes these calls are from numbers that appear to be local, sometimes they can appear to come from out of state and you never think much of it. These are what we call a “Scam Call.” Most people do not know that these calls lead to a much bigger issue.
What these scammers do is they will call your phone and they will ask you very basic questions like “are you there?” or “can you hear me okay?” or “This is CITI Bank (or another common bank or credit card company), am I speaking with (your first and last name)”? They ask you these questions to get you to say “yes.” What you don’t know about these calls is by saying this basic response, it can lead to you receiving more random scam calls and even some unauthorized purchases in your name. This is the “Can You Hear Me?” Or “Get a yes” Scam.
What You Can Expect to Hear
The “Can You Hear Me?” Scam will most likely go like this. You’ll receive a call and when you pick up the phone someone with ask you a yes or no question, “can you hear me?” “is this the head of the household?” to where you’ll answer yes. Scammers will take this as a sign to verify that your number is active, which can lead to the scammers using your number, credit card information, and your name to scam you. It can also be sold off to other telemarketers for a high price. By answering this call and confirming their questions with “yes” those scammers can even record you saying “yes” to make it seem like you are agreeing to something else that they will use your voice for. Most of the time it is a way to use your credit card information that these scammers have found through other companies. Some companies will sell your information to third- party companies, so that you can get hacked and they can make a profit.
Protecting Yourself from Scam Calls
Thankfully, there are some steps that you can personally take to avoid these issues.
- Thoroughly check the phone numbers of the calls that you receive. Many scam artists will use a number that appears to be local to you, it is best to just avoid calls that have local numbers you don’t recognize.
- End the call as soon as there are suspicious signs. Don’t be afraid to be rude to scammers and hang up the phone right away. The more time you spend on the phone with a scammer the more likely you are to get scammed and or get hacked. This can also lead to more annoying and unnecessary calls down the road.
- Pay close attention to your credit reports and bills. Even if you don’t receive any calls from scammers or if you don’t even pick up the calls at all, it is still a good idea to closely read and go through your reports and bills to see if everything is correct. There is only so much that the law can do to help you when your number or credit/debit card information has been compromised. The law will only provide very minimal protection against these attacks.
Reporting “Can you hear me?” Scam Calls
When this does happen to you it is most important that your report these scam calls to ensure that they don’t happen again or happen to anyone else. If you find yourself in the situation of receiving these calls make sure you report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has the authority to enforce the laws that will regulate these scam calls and the fraud that can happen over the telephone.
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
TTY: (866) 653-4261