A telephone scam that reportedly duped thousands of people in the U.S. has made its way to Canada.
The “Can you hear me?” scam has now crossed the border into Canada. This scam would normally target businesses in an effort to rope them into office supply purchases they did not order, but it appears the scam is now targeting consumers.
“Currently, over 70 per cent of the scams reported to Scam Tracker in the U.S. are this scam, so they are hitting a lot of people,” said Evan Kelly, senior communications advisor for Better Business Bureau serving Mainland B.C. “Our Scam Tracker in B.C. has just received the first few complaints so we just want to warn the public that this is now starting to happen in our area.”
How the scam works:
You receive a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction to a business or agency they supposedly represent. Scam reports have indicated that the callers have represented themselves as being from various companies, such as a home security agency, a cruise line or sometimes from the government.
After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly. If you answer "yes" there's a possibility that the scam artist behind the phone call has recorded you and will use your agreement to sign you up for a product or service and then demand payment. If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded "yes" response to confirm your purchase agreement. There are other ways scammers might get you to say yes such as:
• Are you the homeowner?
• Are you over 18?
• Do you pay the household bills?
• Do you have a home computer?
Keep in mind, a scammer may already have gotten their hands on some of your personal information, such as credit card numbers, which they can use in tandem with your recorded affirmation to push through charges.
How to protect yourself:
• First and foremost, do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. If it’s a legitimate contact, they will leave a message. Even if a scammer leaves a message, this will give you time to think about what is being asked of you.
• If you do answer and are asked questions that seem to be fishing for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, do not respond and hang up immediately.
• For this scam, and all others, never give out any personal identifying information over the phone when you are not sure of the caller.
• If you believe you may have fallen for this, contact your bank and credit card companies to flag your accounts. Check your account daily — the earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money.
• Write down the phone number of those callers violating the do not call registry and file a scam report with BBB scam tracker.