My phone rang on Tuesday afternoon and the call was from Mexico. I don’t know anyone who lives in Mexico, or even anyone who was vacationing in Mexico, but I answered anyway.
A woman’s voice said “Can you hear me?” and she started crying and screaming into the phone. Something seemed off about it, so I didn’t say anything and let the “woman” continue ask “Can you hear me? Are you there?”
It turns out that had I answered “Yes! I can hear you,” I may have been a victim of the “Say Yes” scam.
The Better Business Bureau says consumers who get strange calls should hang up immediately without saying anything, especially the word “yes.”
If you get a call from a stranger asking, “Can you hear me?” hang up the phone.
“This is a new con going around,” Painesville Credit Union CEO Lori Guzzi said. “The scammers are trying to get you to say the word ‘yes’ so they can record it and use that recording to authorize unwanted charges to your credit card, cable and phone accounts, or even to sign you up for subscriptions. If you refuse to pay, the scammer can use your recorded ‘yes’ to confirm your agreement.
There are many variations of the call I received, Guzzi said.
“You’ll get a call from a ‘company’ like a cruise line or even from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration,” she said. “At some point, the person will ask if you can hear them clearly. If you answer ‘yes,’ they’ve got you.”
Guzzi says to hang up if you have any suspicions about the call.
Here are some more stay-safe tips:
• Try not to say “yes.” Consciously use a different word. Don’t say “yes,” “sure,” or “OK.”
• No government agency (including the Social Security Administration or the IRS) will call you, EVER. If you receive a call from a person claiming to be from a government agency, hang up.
• Write down the phone number and time of the call and report it to your local law enforcement agency. Contact your state’s attorney general. Contact information for each state’s attorney general can be found on the National Association of Attorneys General website.
• Check your credit card, phone and cable statements carefully for suspicious charges. If you find that you are a victim of this scam, call the company and dispute anything you did not authorize.
• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Your complaint will be filed into a secure online database, which is used by many local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. Complaints from consumers help detect patterns of fraud and abuse.
Stay alert to avoid scams! If you have any questions, call us at Painesville Credit Union at 440-352-8974.