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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – We have a Consumer Justice alert after a big spike in the number of Can You Hear Me Now scam complaints in North Texas.
Mike Mcgaha never thought he would fall victim to a scam.
“I thought ‘hey, I cannot be ever caught. I am a tech guy, I’m smart. I can sniff this out,’ ” said McGaha. But when he saw a local number pop up on his cell phone, he immediately took it.
“But when I said, ‘this is Mike,’ the person said ‘Mike?’ And I said ‘yes!’ And immediately the phone went dead,” said McGaha.
It’s called the Can You Hear Me Now scam.
The Dallas Better Business Bearua explains it like this: You get a call from someone who almost immediately asks “Can you hear me?” Their goal is to get you to answer “Yes,” which most people would do instinctively in that situation. There may be some fumbling around; the person may even say something like “I’m having trouble with my headset.” But in fact, the “person” may just be a robocall recording your conversation… and that “Yes” answer you gave can later be edited to make it sound like you authorized a major purchase.
“Locally it has surpassed the IRS scam,” said Phlyissia Clark of the Dallas BBB.
Clark said they have received more than 100 “Can you hear me now” complaints since January.
Clark said your recorded “Yes” could be used for cramming, to bypass your banks voice recognition fraud protection or to authorize a purchase.
“If you rework their script, they could end up saying hey you want to buy this and they have your recorded saying yes,” said Clark.
Clark said let any unknown number go to voicemail.
“Don’t be afraid to hang up,” said Clark.
Since McGaha answered he’s watching his bank and credit card statements a little more closely.
“It’s a lot easier to get caught as I am proof of,” said McGaha.
- BBB Tips To Protect Yourself
Use Caller ID to screen calls, and consider not even answering unfamiliar numbers. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can call back.
If someone calls and asks “Can you hear me?”, do NOT answer “yes.” Just hang up. Scammers change their tactics as the public catches on, so be alert for other questions designed to solicit a simple “yes” answer.
Make a note of the number and report it to bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others. BBB also shares Scam Tracker information with government and law enforcement agencies, so every piece of information is helpful in tracking down scammers.
Consider joining the Do Not Call Registry (DoNotCall.gov) to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. This may not help with scammers since they don’t bother to pay attention to the law, but you’ll get fewer calls overall. That may help you more quickly notice the ones that could be fraudulent.
Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for unauthorized charges. It’s also a good idea to check your telephone and cell phone bills, as well. Scammers may be using the “Yes” recording of your voice to authorize charges on your phone. This is called “cramming” and it’s illegal.