Remember the Verizon Wireless commercial where the guy asked “can you hear me now?” That commercial is no longer on the air, but the question is still being asked – by scammers.
Yes, one of the newest scams making the rounds goes something like this. You get a call on your cell phone and the person on the other end asks “can you hear me?” The way you answer this seemingly innocent question can determine if you become the latest victim.
When you hear someone on the other line ask “can you hear me,” your reflexive response may be the simply say yes. Unfortunately, that is exactly the answer the scammers want to hear. Their question is nothing more than a ploy to get you to say that word – yes.
Once you say yes, the scammer can use that response to authorize phony charges on bills and credit cards, and to make it seem like you agreed to something. The scammer can also use other questions in order to get you to say yes, such as “do you pay the bill for this phone number?”
Another ploy these criminals use is to get you to press a certain button on your phone, which they can also use to fraudulently signify your agreement or permission.
Often these scammers have already obtained some of your personal and financial information via some other stolen data and the “yes” is what they need if you attempt to dispute charges on your credit card or an agreement to purchase a product or service.
Experts who deal with fraud and scams, including the FCC, suggest that the best way to deal with this scam is simply to not answer any calls where the number is not recognizable. If you do pick up, simply hang up when someone just blurts out a random question. You can also add your number, both home and cell phone to the national Do Not Call Registry.
In this age of electronic scams and fraud, it is so important to protect your personal information, especially you credit card numbers, PIN numbers and social security number. Stay on top of your financial information by frequently checking your credit card and banking statements. Often, the sooner you catch financial fraud, the better your odds of recouping your losses and preventing further loss.
Be smart. Be strong. And always stay alert.
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