Sometimes all a crook needs from you is one word – “Yes.” With a tape recording of your voice saying it, a scammer can add charges to your phone bill or take other actions to steal your money. And when you protest that you never authorized the charges, that “yes” can make it harder to get the charges removed.
The Attorney General’s Office has recently been contacted by consumers who heard “Can you hear me?” or “Is this the lady of the house?” when they answered the phone. These calls are designed to elicit “yes” as an answer. Some of the calls are actually recordings and some may be disguised as solicitations for vacation cruises or other items. Armed with their recording of the consumer’s response, these crooks “cram” charges onto the victim’s phone or credit card bill. Authorities in Pennsylvania and Virginia have also recently warned about these tactics.
To protect yourself against these scammers, remember:
- Let it ring. The best and easiest way to combat telemarketing fraudsters is to let unknown calls go to your answering machine. If a caller doesn’t leave a message, it was a crook or an unimportant call that was OK to miss.
- Just hang up. If you pick up the phone and a voice says “Can you hear me?” or something else that is designed to get you to respond with a “yes,” just put the phone back down. It’s rude… but so is trying to steal your money.
- You can’t trust Caller ID. Scam artists can manipulate it to make it look like a legitimate call when it isn’t. If you’re unsure about a call, let them leave a message.
- Study your bill. Check your phone charges and credit card statements carefully. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, contact the company and dispute the charge.
If you need help with an unauthorized charge on a bill, contact us for help or call us toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.