Phone Scams Costing Victims, All Over One Word

“Can You Hear Me Okay?”

Consumer alerts have been booming regarding recent phone scams that are hitting nationwide.  Scammers are calling, claiming to be from customer support teams.  All they want to hear you say is “yes”.  Often times the phone call will initiate as simple as,

“This is Tom Jones from customer support services.  Can you hear me okay?”

What you don’t know, is the scammers are recording these phone calls, and once you respond with “yes”, they have what they need.  They use your verbal confirmation completely out of context, claiming you confirmed you were going to pay for products or services.

If you get a phone call from these scammers, hang up immediately.  Also, do not give them your personal information.

If you would like to read more about the consumer alert, you can do so here.  The Nightly News also featured a piece on this scam, which you may view here.

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45 thoughts on “Phone Scams Costing Victims, All Over One Word”

  1. I get these calls all the time but know how to deal with these scammers who mainly come from Asia in my experience. My Mother had here saving wiped out by these scammers and Barclays bank were not interested even though she is an OAP and they pretended to be from Barclays.

  2. Kayla, If all the scammer has is a recorded “YES”, how is the scam perpetuated if there’s no financial information given?

    1. Kayla Thrailkill

      One of the issues victims are experiencing is the demands after the “yes” is recorded. An example would be a malicious company or person saying the victim verbally agreed to a particular service or purchasing a product (using the recorded “yes”), then they’re held financially responsible. So banking information is not stolen, but they’re “yes” is being taken out of context to make unauthorized purchase agreements.

      1. I’m not saying this stuff doesn’t happen but to whom do the scammers prove a verbal agreement without financial agreement also transmitted? I’m not getting this.

  3. skeeter Sanders

    There’s one simple way to stop these scammers dead in their tracks: Stop them with your Caller ID. Don’t answer if your Caller ID does not show a number or if it shows a number that you don’t know (i.e., a number with an unfamiliar or toll-free area code)..I automatically reject any such calls.

    This especially true for your mobile phone, since all mobile phones have Caller ID — and under federal law, mobile phone numbers are unlisted and it’s illegal to make “robocalls” to unlisted numbers.

    1. I got a call on this the very next day after reading about it. Some girl says she is a customer service agent and asks if I can hear her okay. I read her the riot act and she hung up.

      1. @William: I’ve started hitting the PANIC button on my truck’s key fob, Then I put the phone in front of the grill while the horn is blowing and let the horn answer it!

  4. I received a call today from” Microsoft Tech Support” HA!HA! I can’t repeat what I said to them. I never answer my phone, however this time I could not resist. If I receive a call and they don’t leave me a VM I block the number. I average blocking 3 #’s a day.

  5. Ralph Mazzarella

    I like to speak to these phony phone callers about spiritual matters. Once I spoke to a fellow and I asked him outright while he was giving his spiel, ‘ do you believe in God’. I then went on to say that he should be ashamed of himself because he was impairing his spiritual identity. Finally, He became angry and told me, ‘ f#*k you’. Well, I told him, ‘ now that is not Microsoft speaking is it’. He slammed the phone down and hung up.

    1. Sydney Morales

      Hi how does one know when not to pick up the call . If a furniture company calls you that they will be arriving in 30 minutes ,and will call you first .??: One has to pick up the phone of you know there are coming .

  6. I got a call from a guy that said he was from the IRS. I said this is your lucky day my friend I am an IRS agent and you are a fraud. He hung up immediately.

  7. BTW you can “invite” this type of call by visiting a job search web site. Within minutes you get calls from “companies” using computer generated local numbers. Small Businesses are particularly vulnerable. Cell phones are as vulnerable as land lines.

  8. Hello,
    My answer to this is a white list phone app like Call Control (or similar). All unknowns go to VM, and when I see it in VM I can block it. Of course, I like the response, “Just a minute while I turn the TV down.” I work in a field that answers a lot of these types of complaints. We can’t get the elderly to stop answering their phones, but occasionally they will actually ask for a number so they can “call back later”.

  9. This warning seems like total BS to me, made up by goofballs and blindly perpetuated by media headline seekers. Why would I need your voice saying ‘yes’? No one is checking voiceprints, so I’d just fake it by saying ‘yes’ myself. Has this been documented even once? No story I’ve ever seen has corroborated it. They just read something somewhere and go for broke with their own headline. What ever happened to honest journalism?

    1. Oh yes it happened. I got exactly this kind of call – saying can you hear me OK? “Oh, I just wanted to make sure because sometimes my headset screws up” it is not a voice print they are looking for just that they have you saying “yes’ If their scam works out and you later try to challenge the charge on your credit card or something – the evidence they present will have them asking you the questions about agreeing to buy their product or service and your answer spliced in behind it. It happened to me twice – the first time I did say “yes’ but hung up immediately when she started her spiel. the second time a week later – I hung up without saying yes (it was when another person called saying the same thing about a headset and can I hear them Okay – that I realized this was regular thing)- I have friends that are getting these calls – so yes I have heard allot about them directly from people and yes it happened to me.

    2. Wayne Peterkin

      @In the Net: I heard about this very same scam elsewhere and also from a reputable source. I would recommend you take it seriously, but that of course is your choice.

  10. Depending on my mood when I get the Tech calls. I will either hang up or lead them on. Asking which of my 3 computers has the virus, etc… then I normally close with asking: Do you have a computer there? When they say yes, then I tell them where to put it and hang up.

  11. Lawrence Wilson

    The first “reply” noted searching files and than renaming/ deleting them. This is excellent information except for one minor point? Most people or at least myself is so damn dumb that they do NOT know how to do these searches?

    It is fine to give good advice, but someone in this mess needs to also advise HOW this can be done and to do it “step by step” with no understood for the reader. I had MSN support tell me to do so and so to stop a program. Great, except I had no idea how to even start step one.

    Come on folks; those of you blessed with superior intellect and education take a bit of mercy on those such as myself who can hardly tie their shoes and would walk barefooted if not for Velcro.

  12. Only the feeble-minded answer strange numbers; they don’t even know how to set-up voicemail.
    Only the feeble-minded still have landlines; I laugh at their feeble-comments. How did I get here?
    Musta been a re-direct or something.

    1. @Bill Register: So you are calling me feeble minded because I live in a mobile home with a metal roof and cell phones will NOT work in my house?????? I have a land line so that I can make and receive calls, I do NOT have caller ID – I find out who is calling when I say “HELLO”!!!!! You should not speak whereof you know not!!!!!@Bill Register:

      1. @Kathy: Sorry Kathy…you can get a cheap
        answering machine and greet with a message like “Kathy is monitoring all phone
        calls, so stay on the line if you’re NOT a telemarketer; or leave a message if I’m
        outside feeding the critters>”

    2. @Bill Register:
      You’re the one who’s “feeble minded”! Land lines are used for Businesses Dumbo! And, they too have voicemail, call forwarding, call blocking and other features single-owner small businesses need for a smooth operation. How did you get here? Musta (sic) been your Alzheimer’s or Dementia praecox creeping up on you again!

  13. We were so fed up with scam phone calls and phone marketers wanting to clean my ductwork that I cancelled my land line and only use a cell phone now. Peaceful quiet and bliss. Why keep two phone systems in your home anyway?

  14. Since installing “truecaller” the majority of such calls are flagged. The odd one that does creep through can subsequently be blocked within the app.

  15. I have a business that receives calls from just about anywhere.
    Cannot afford to not answer.
    But I am very cautious and hang up when the call is crap.

  16. I got to one of these scammers by calling a tech support number I found online. In order to adjust a printer setting, they said, they would have to look at some very obscure settings. I downloaded an application to give them control of my computer. I did so. Then, I realized what was going on. I pulled the power cord from my computer, and they got confused. Then, I restarted, and found that they app was dialing home, so to speak. I shut the app down. I searched my hard drive for files created in the last 24 hours. and then found that there were new INI files in it’s directory. I re-named them to text files, and re-started. . The app was no longer there, and the files it had created were gone, too. I was waiting for the screen to show up, telling me that I had a terrible problem, but it never did. I guess I pulled out the power cord at the right time.
    If this happens to you, search your drive for files created in the last day, and re-name them. Then, delete them. Open you recycle bin, and manually delete the files from there, too.

    1. @My name:

      My wife had a call from some people claiming to be from Microsoft and that there was malicious software on her machine. As I work for an IT company she passed the phone to me and I could tell it was a con. They were asking me to download and install 3rd party software (which MS would never do) and to provide the IP address. I hung up after telling them I can handle it myself. They called back several times until they finally got the message – and they were very rude.

    2. Just a caution – that is a great move and outcome for you BUT pulling the power cord on a computer running can actually permanently damage the hard drive and make it not only unbootable but your files unrecoverable – this has nothing to do with the scam or a virus, just a caution that you can kill a hard drive by unplugging a computer. No it won’t happen 9 out of 10 times but once again , it did to me. A drive system drive that had been up and running almost five years – the computer was taking it’s sweet time shutting down – so I pulled the plug. It never operated again. The hard drive was corrupted and failed by my action. This was when I was very new to computers for 2005 to 2010 and I didn’t do backups – lost 5 years of photos, data, everything – from unplugging the computer. they couldn’t be recovered. 7 years later I fix people computers and can build them and have multiple backups of course. Nothing like a shock and loss like that to make one wake up and figure out computers! Your advice of finding and deleting the files is spot on though.

      1. @Richard Beck: The voice of reason,,,,,
        Proof that anyone can master the PC; good job. Feeble-minded just means
        gadget illiterate; a UPS is a must for power failures and temporary gadget

  17. Same here I get two or three of these a day. The most common one recently is from scammers pretending to be Microsoft employees, who are clearly reading off a script as a few simple questions will result in their hanging up. I urge people to waste as much of their time as possible, and keep them on the line as long as you can. This will reduce the profitability of their operations.

    1. @Alan Robbins: Here’s how to waste their time. When you answer and know it’s them, say, “Hang on, I need to turn down the TV ” (or what ever) and just lay the phone down. I do this on my landline. I don’t answer a nunber I don’t recognize on cell phone.

  18. My wife and I receive 4 to 10 calls per day Since we have caller ID – WE ONLY ANSWER a number that we know!! We also turned OFF our message machine.

    1. I leave my answering machine on, in case they Are legitimate, and have the sense/courtesy to leave a message

  19. Over the last year, my wife and I have received more than a half dozen scam calls per day on average on each of our three phones. We have learned what many of the telephone numbers are that call and do not answer those. In some cases we can report the numbers or block them.

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