Remember those Verizon Wireless commercials that that featured the spokesperson asking, "Can you hear me now?" Well, the popular phrase is making a comeback, but this time it's the line that unlocks the latest phone scam.
And saying "yes" is the magic word.
The phone scam was first reported in Ohio and is sweeping through the state. As a result, the Ohio Attorney General's Office issued a warning on Monday to further prevent more people from getting swindled.
Here's how the scam works:
A call reportedly coming from an Ohio number (most frequently with a 330 or 614 area code) is made featuring a robot recording. (Keep in mind the number can be generated from the Internet and not necessary be from Ohio.)
When a potential victims answers the call they may hear a noise as if the "person" on the other line dropped their phone. The robocall is then said to feature a female's voice that states, "Oh, sorry. I was just having some trouble with my headset." Followed by the phrase, "Can you hear me now?"
If answered with a "yes," the call continues by revealing that the victim won a cruise or some other kind of vacation. This obviously makes it clear that the call is in fact a fake, but the damage has already been done.
The scammers behind the robocall record the "yes" response to then use it to then steal the victim's identity and authorize charges on their phone or utility bills and on stolen credit cards.
The robot may ask for a donation or money for said vacation, and when denied they play back the victim's "yes" response.
How To Protect Yourself From The Scam
1. Don't Pick Up
The best way to make sure theses scammers don't take advantage of you is by not answering calls from unknown numbers. If it is important, the person will leave a voicemail.
2. Don't Answer
Do not give details away regarding personal information if asked. Refrain from answering any questions, especially if someone asks, "Can you hear me now?"
3. Don't Continue The Conversation
If this robocall comes to you, just hang up right away without continuing any conversation. Report the number to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which will in turn help to monitor and put an end to the scam.
Photo: Alon | Flickr