FCC Warns Consumers of ‘Can you hear me?’ Phone Scam

Published: Friday, March 31, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission is alerting consumers to be on the lookout for scam callers seeking to get victims to say the word “yes” during a call and later using a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges on the victim’s utility or credit card account.

According to complaints the FCC has received, the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations that provide a service that may be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender or utility, to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.

The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, “Can you hear me?” The caller then records the consumer’s “Yes” response and thus obtains a voice signature. This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.

If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded to this type of call, please contact us so that we can assist you with protecting your accounts.

The following tips from the FCC can help ward off unwanted calls and scams:

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  • If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents.
  • If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the FCC so they can help identify and take appropriate action to help consumers targeted by illegal callers.
  • Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry.