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A simple ‘yes’ is all this phone scam needs to ruin your company’s life

(BUSINESS NEWS) Scammers are now tricking people into signing up for services they didn’t authorize. Here’s a crash course for how to prepare yourself.

woman smartphone calling

How they get the “yes”

Make sure your entire company is aware of this phone scam that’s way more annoying than being told to catch your refrigerator. Scammers are now tricking people into signing up for services they didn’t authorize. Here’s a crash course for how to prepare yourself.

When an automated system or telemarketer calls you or your business, they will ask something along the lines of “can you hear me?” If you answer “yes,” a recording of your confirmation now exists. Even though you initially only answered the “can you hear me” portion of the call, scammers can use this “yes” against you.

What happens with your “yes”

Scammers can sign you up for products and services you didn’t actually agree to. You might find yourself with a bill for a cruise or new home security system you never ordered. If you try to dispute the company’s claims, they may be able to take legal action against you.

Your vocal confirmation can be spliced into a different conversation, allowing the company to claim you did agree to their offers.

You can be used against yourself since, technically, at some point you said “yes.”

[clickToTweet tweet=”So how are you supposed to combat something basic phone etiquette ingrained in us?” quote=”So how are you supposed to combat something basic phone etiquette ingrained in us?”]

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How to protect yourself

The easiest solution is to just hang up if the conversation starts out with “can you hear me?” If this seems too rude, avoid confrontation from the get-go and don’t answer if you don’t recognize the number. Be careful with this method, though. Consumerist notes local police say scammers may use a familiar area code to lure potential victims into a false sense of security.

Another option is a robocall-screening service. These provide a filter that blocks numbers previously listed as Do Not Call violators or that have been reported as robocallers. Check out what your phone service provider has to offer in terms of screening services. In some areas you can access blocking services free of charge.

However, not everyone has the option to simply ignore unknown numbers. If you’re in this camp, don’t worry. You have scam-avoiding options too. For times when you have to answer a call, approach with caution. Don’t provide personal information to random callers, even if they are friendly. Avoid saying “yes” to anything, even the seemingly innocuous “can you hear me?”

Worried you might be unintentionally sketching out a legitimate caller with your avoidance? After all, someone could be genuinely asking. Instead of confirming with a yes, you can reply “I can hear you.” For now. Until they figure out how to use that against you or your company.

While it may feel unnatural to assume suspicion right off the bat, you could save yourself quite a bit of trouble.

Remember the phone safety rules you learned as a kid. Don’t talk to strangers, don’t give out personal information, and if all else fails, say your mom is definitely home, she’s just in the bathroom.

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Written By

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Move over Mr. Robot: here are two new business scams to watch out for | Gene Marks

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