MINNEAPOLIS -- A growing "can you hear me" phone scam may be the scariest scam yet because it can make you a victim if you say just one word.
This is how it works, according to the Better Business Bureau.
You receive a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction and identifies the business or agency they supposedly represent. 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.
Teresa Thomas, who lives in Minneapolis and works out of her home, got that same call Thursday night.
“When a number I don’t recognize, I assume it’s a work call,” she recalled. "I saw that the area code was 612, so I thought it maybe somebody that needs me.”
But almost immediately something seemed up with a woman’s voice surprised she picked up.
“’Oh you’re there, can you hear me?’ And then I said, ‘Yeah’,” she said.
She hung because she realized it was a recording.
"I hadn’t even given it two thoughts and this morning I looked on Facebook and saw a post about it,” she said.
She wasn’t the only one. The Better Business Bureau received phone calls from people all over the country, said Dan Hendrickson with the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.
"Can you hear me? And the average person of course when asked that question they’ll say yes. That’s what the callers are looking for,” he said.
If you get a call like this, the BBB suggests the following:
• If you receive an unsolicited robocall from an organization or business, just hang up. If you are on the Do Not Call List and a company calls out of the blue to ask questions, it's likely a scam. Avoid responding with "yes, sure or ok."
• If you are asked a similar question in a phone call or are asked to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call Registry, just hang up the phone. Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help the scam artists identify that you have an active phone number. Remember that no government agency will ever solicit for the Do Not Call Registry.
• Write down the phone number of those callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with BBB Scam Tracker and the FTC's Do Not Call List. Remember that Pennsylvania's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law, making it a crime to intercept or record a telephone call or conversation unless all parties to the conversation consent.
Thomas is now watching her accounts much closer and has a message of her own.
"I guess you won’t be hearing me say yes on the phone immediately to people anymore,” she said.