Can You Hear Me Now

January 30, 2017

CRESTVIEW — The Crestview Police Department is warning residents to beware what is called the “can you hear me?” scam following reports from the Better Business Bureau and major news networks.

Answering in the affirmative is all a scammer needs to execute the latest ‘can you hear me?’ scam,” the BBB stated in a fall 2016 warning. “This scam has historically been directed toward businesses, but your Better Business Bureau is hearing from consumers recently who are reporting the phone scam.”

The calls come from scammers posing as representatives of a variety of services and businesses, including cruise lines, home security companies and government agencies including the Social Security Administration.

“If you answer ‘yes,’ there’s a possibility that the scam artist…has recorded you and will use your agreement to sign you up for a product or service and then demand payment,” the BBB report stated. “If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded ‘yes’ response to confirm your purchase agreement.”

The Police Department and the BBB remind residents that government agencies do not initiate phone calls to residents, including to demand payment of past taxes or fees. Unsolicited calls received by residents who are on the National Do Not Call Registry are almost certainly scams.

Sometimes such calls are attempts to verify if a resident’s phone number is active and should be ignored, the BBB advises.

What to do?

  • Be sure your home and mobile phone numbers are listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. Registration is free and easy. Visit Violations can be reported to the same website.
  • If you receive an unsolicited robocall from an organization or business, just hang up. If you are on the National Do Not Call Registry and a company calls to ask questions, it’s likely a scam. Avoid responding with “yes,” “sure” or “ok.”
  • If you are asked a similar question in a phone call or are asked to press a button to be placed on the National Do Not Call Registry, just hang up. Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help the scam artists identify that you have an active phone number.
  • Remember that no government agency will ever solicit for the National Do Not Call Registry or call to demand payment for past-due taxes or fees.
  • Write down the phone number of callers violating the National Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with the registry and with the BBB’s Scam Tracker.
  • The BBB advises to check your account statements frequently in the event you do fall for a similar scam or provide personal information in an unsolicited phone call. The earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money.

Sources: National Do Not Call Registry, Better Business Bureau

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