Recent reports show fraudsters and scammers are attempting to steal money from the bank accounts of unsuspecting citizens in a new wave of prank phone calls.
The premise is simple: Scammers will make unsolicited phone calls to victims and ask the facile question, “Can you hear me?”
If the phoned victim says “Yes,” he is in for trouble. That simple, one-word answer is recorded by the fraudster and used as a way to authorize charges and financial transfers on a phone, utility, or credit card bill.
“You say ‘yes,’ it gets recorded, and they say that you have agreed to something,” director of consumer protection and privacy for the Consumer Federation of America, Susan Grant, told CBS News. “I know that people think it’s impolite to hang up, but it’s a good strategy.”
The range of these prank calls is occurring across the U.S., but particularly in the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Similar prank calls happened last year, where scammers would urge victims to say “yes” to questions such as, “Do you pay the household telephone bills?” or “Are you the homeowner?”
“Usually it has a familiar area code,” Officer Jo Ann Hughes with the Norfolk Police Department told reporting media. “That kind of warms you up… A lot of times, victims do not want to come forward because they are embarrassed. They feel like, ‘It was my fault. I should have known better,’ and they are just embarrassed by it, all together. So we do not get a whole lot of reports, unfortunately.”
Authorities warn that if you do receive this type of prank phone call, you should hang up immediately and notify police officials.
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