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25th Feb 2017

Phone scam alert: Do NOT reply if a stranger says these words…

Katie Mythen-Lynch

A new type of phone scam is sweeping the US, with experts warning it’s only a matter of time before it hits this side of the pond.

The ‘Can you hear me?’ scam works like this: The victim answers a call from an unknown number. A voice introduces themselves, claiming to be someone from a business or organisation, before asking ‘can you hear me?’. The natural reaction is to say ‘yes’. Then the scammer records the victim’s voice, plays it back and tells them they’ve entered into a verbal contract to buy goods or services.

While savvy victims will be on high alert, many older victims become confused and believe they are under contract to pay the scammer, who may follow up with calls demanding money while playing the ‘yes’ recording again.

These scams often go unreported because people are too embarrassed to alert the police when they’ve been targeted.

The advice? Never answer a call from a number you don’t recognise and if you do, remember never to answer any questions or confirm your phone number with a stranger. Make sure elderly friends and relatives are aware too.

If you fall victim to a phone scammer, alert the police immediately.