February 4, 2019

Beware of 'Can you hear me' phone scam

There is a phone scam that you need to know.

As the video below explains, phone calls are made from people you don't know. When you answer, a voice may ask: "This is _____. Can you hear me?"

If you answer, "Yes," your voice is secretly recorded.

Then you'll get another phone call demanding payment for the purchase of some goods or service, using your voice saying "yes" as proof that you had made that purchase.

As I had posted before, registering your phone calls with the federal government's Do Not Call registry means very little these days because robo-callers are ignoring and circumventing the registry, and the federal government does not have the personnel to actually administer and police the Do Not Call registry. The registry is really an honor system that depends on merchants honoring your "do not call" requests, but countless and increasing numbers of unscrupulous merchants simply ignore our requests.

What can you do?

  1. Phones are now equipped with caller ID. When you get a call from someone you don't recognize, don't answer the call. Do not be fooled by the caller ID identifying the caller as having your area code -- robocallers have found a way to fake area codes.
  2. Get Nomorobo, a free online service that will block robocalls to your phone. I did many months ago, and it works! Whenever my phone rings once and then stops, that's Nomorobo blocking a robocall. To sign up, go here. Nomorobo for landline phones is free, but there is a fee for cell phones.
  3. NEVER ever give out personal information on the phone, such as your credit card number, social security number, or bank account number.

H/t John Molloy


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  1. Spoofers are programming valid caller-ID numbers to harass people they wish to stalk. When the victim reports the name and number from the spoofed call to authorities, the valid but innocent owner of the legit phone number can be questioned by the police.

  2. sometimes, when one of those spammers gets through, I put on a youtube video of someone preaching the gospel and turn it up loud and put the receiver down.

    1. I love that! I was just telling them "Just a minute. Someone is at my door." walking away for a couple of hours. I must have struck a nerve though as for the next week they doubled-down on the number of calls. I still leave them waiting on the line. Eventually, they will get tired of it.

  3. In MY area the robocallers are using random number generators that start with a specified local prefix,then the number generator starts making calls off one list,but it shows on the caller ID as a number from the "local prefix" list. the person that's called sees a local prefix so they pick up the phone,thinking a friend might have changed to a different cell number. If the person being called misses the call or can't answer,they see the local number and call back,but they don't get the caller. They either find the number the call was from doesn't exist or the person they contact didn't make the call. I even got a call to MY number,allegedly from MY phone! 'Splain THAT to me!!! Since their "random call" software NEVER re-uses a number,if I don't answer a number from the prefix being used and I'm called again from the same number,I know it's legit.
    The Fun Never Ends!

  4. If you do inadvertanly answer a scam caLL just hang up.
    If you want to have some fun say stuff like:
    >May I ask who's calling?
    >Internal Revenue Service, fraud division.
    >Thanks for donating. Credit card number please.
    >911. What is your Emergency?