Phone scam could cost you money just by saying, “yes”

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “Can you hear me?”

An old take on a cellphone marketing slogan is now being used to target consumers.

Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine issued a warning to consumers about a scam that can be used against consumers to make unauthorized charges.

The scan works like this: Someone will call your phone, introduce themselves, and then ask if you can hear them.

The catch is they are trying to get you to say the word, “yes.” They record the conversation, then use that word to make changes or charges to various utility accounts or credit cards.

“Any time people receive a call that’s suspicious, we encourage them to be very careful and not to respond to the call,” DeWine said in a statement.

Consumer advocates in several states, from Wisconsin to Connecticut, have reported the suspicious calls.

Several reports indicate the number is usually local. The person on the other end will usually say you’ve won a cruise or vacation or even mention your vehicle warranty has expired. Sometimes it will be an automated greeting.

Connecticut BBB employer Howard Schwartz told a local news station by saying “yes” you give scammers the ability to get you into an authorized agreement.

“It’s a verbal contract,” Schwart told WSFB-TV. “Just like clicking ‘I agree’ on a computer. It’s called a voice signature and it’s used legitimately by companies to show that you’ve agreed to some sort of change.”

The BBB and DeWine encourage consumers to not answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number. Let the call go to voicemail, or if you answer, hang up if you don’t feel something is right.

Other tips, include:

  • Check your phone bill
  • Check credit card statements regularly
  • Don’t provide any personal information
  • Don’t answer questions

If you feel you’re being targeted by scammers, write the phone number down and provide it to police or the local BBB.