A scam titled “Can you hear me?” is circulating the Tacoma area at a fast rate and the Better Business Bureau has received many calls and reports about people being affected.
The telephone scam, according to Better Business Bureau Marketplace Director Savannah Kimball, uses your positive affirmation to take your credit card information.
“You receive a recorded call and they introduce themselves with their business or agency that they’re representing. After the introduction, the recording on the line will ask ‘Can you hear me okay?’ Once you respond with any positive affirmation such as ‘yes’ or ‘sure,’ the caller will use that response to confirm agreement from the user’s bank account,” said Kimball.
The scammers will set up monthly or one-time payments. “They want that money from you. They want that opportunity,” said Kimball.
The Better Business Bureau also receives other types of scam reports, the most common being an IRS scam around tax season. This consists of a call from individuals saying they work for the IRS, and taxes owed immediately must be paid over the phone. According to the scammer, failure to pay will result in a visit from law enforcement.
“One way around this is to know that the IRS will never call you. They will send you a letter prior to any form of communication,” said Kimball.
There are many ways to avoid getting scammed over the phone. One way, according to Kimball, is to just hang up. “Especially if it’s a robotic call, just avoid responding to questions to any unknown caller. Even if you are asked to press a specific number [on your keypad], just hang up. Pressing or responding may help scam numbers determine the number you are using is active,” said Kimball.
Another way to avoid scam calls is to register your phone number on a government site, donotcall.gov. The site will not only stop legitimate businesses from calling you, it will also inform you if a call came from a scam number.