The caller pretends to be adjusting a headset and asks, “Can you hear me?” and the typical response you’d give is “yes.” That’s where the trouble starts, according to Jim Hegarty at the Better Business Bureau in Omaha-Council Bluffs, and he says the scam is widespread.
“Since last Friday, hundreds of thousands of calls all across the United States, people were getting this strange robocall at their homes, asking ‘Can you hear me?’ and the idea is, they’re just trying to get them to say, ‘yes,'” Hegarty says. “They’re recording that and then they’re later going to attach that to some script of you agreeing to purchase a service or a product.” This band of con artists started out targeting only businesses with the scheme.
“These were scammers just trying to get somebody in the business to say the word ‘yes’ and then they would record it and then connect it with authorization for a service or a product,” Hegarty says. “Suddenly, the company would get a bill and you’d have these scammers claiming they have an individual at your business who’s agreeing. Now, they’re doing it with American consumers.”
The best way to fight back, he says, is to use the technology already at your fingertips. “If you don’t recognize that caller ID, it’s probably best just not to pick it up, let it go to voicemail,” Hegarty says. “If it’s somebody that needs to get an important message to you, they can do so.” He says if you answer a call asking that question, you should just hang up.