The Hamilton Police Department and SeniorCare have issued a warning about the “Can You Hear Me?” scam.
When a scammer calls, answering in the affirmative is all they needs to execute the scam.
This scam has historically been directed toward businesses, but Better Business Bureau for Eastern Massachusetts said consumers are now reporting it via the BBB Scam Tracker.
The scam started in October 2016 but recently reappeared and six different cases of the scam have been reported in the North Shore area in the past week.
“Reports of this scam are rapidly increasing in our service area,” said Paula Fleming, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for the local BBB. “BBB is warning consumers to not respond and immediately hang up if they receive a call and the caller asks, “Can you hear me?”
The scam starts with a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction and identifies the business or agency they supposedly represent, such as a home security agency, a cruise line or the Social Security Administration.
After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly. If the answer is “yes” there’s a possibility that the scam artist behind the phone call has recorded it and will use it to sign up for a product or service and then demand payment. If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded “yes” response to confirm your purchase agreement.
What to do if you get a suspicious call:
- If you receive an unsolicited robocall from an organization or business, just hang up. If you are on the Do Not Call List and a company calls out of the blue to ask questions, it’s likely a scam. Avoid responding with “yes, sure or ok.”
- If you are asked a similar question in a phone call or are asked to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call Registry, just hang up the phone. Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help the scam artists identify that you have an active phone number. Remember that no government agency will ever solicit for the Do Not Call Registry.
- Write down the phone number of callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with the BBB Scam Tracker and the FTC’s Do Not Call List.
- The BBB recommends that you check account statements frequently if you do fall for the scam or provide personal information in an unsolicited phone call. The earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money. For more tips on identifying scams and past scam alerts, visit the BBB website.