(CBS) — Regulators say they are getting thousands of complaints about phone calls that ask a simple question: “Can you hear me?”
CBS 2’s Dave Savini has a warning from federal investigators about this latest phone scam.
Lou Lombardo, morning host of the Brian and Lou show on WKQX radio, describes what happened to him.
Somebody called him and said, “Hey, this is Josh from customer service, can you hear me?”
That call and others appear to be designed to get the person receiving the call to answer “Yes,” so that the response can be recorded.
Matt Hansen received two of these calls.
“I know a lot of people who have gotten the same call,” he says. “They’re like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I’m adjusting my headset right now. Can you hear me now?’ and it’s a recording.”
Leah Johnson received more.
“It’s like the third or fourth time this happened on my phone,” Johnson says.
Investigators are not sure what scammers are trying to do, but they believe the “yes” recording may be used to authorize a purchase or a service. The person saying “yes” could then get billed, the Federal Trade Commission warns.
“They may try to use the recording of you saying ‘yes’ to convince the third party that you authorized the service,” says Ted Kossow.
The call also might be an attempt to verify your number is a working number, and not a fax machine, in order to sell it to a telemarketer.
The FTC warns calling back the incoming number can leave you vulnerable to being scammed.
“When you call it back, the number just says, ‘Oh, the survey you are trying to take is now over,’” Lombardo says. “I wasn’t trying to take a survey.”
Best response to this call, according to the FTC, is to hang up and never give out personal or financial information.
If you already said “yes” to this recorded call, check phone and utility bills for any unauthorized charges.