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Unfamiliar Phone Number? You May Not Want to Answer

Better Business Bureau warns of new scam
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2017 12:00 PM CST
Updated Jan 29, 2017 7:08 AM CST

(Newser) – If you get a phone call from an unfamiliar number and someone asks whether you can hear them, you may want to just hang up. The Better Business Bureau is warning people about the "Can You Hear Me?" scam, in which people are recorded answering "yes," WDTN reports. That recording can be used to sign victims up for a product or service, and the scammers then demand to be paid, using the recorded "yes" as supposed confirmation of an agreement. "I know that people think it’s impolite to hang up, but it’s a good strategy," a consumer protection expert tells CBS. Another option? Don't answer the phone for unfamiliar numbers at all—scammers don't often leave voicemails.

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The BBB's official recommendation: If you get any unsolicited robocalls, hang up. If you're on the Do Not Call list and you still end up on the phone with a company asking any questions (other examples: "Are you the homeowner?" or "Do you pay the household telephone bill?"), don't say "yes," "sure," or "OK," and don't press any buttons—even if a recorded message is telling you to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call list. If in fact it is a scammer on the line, any sort of response, whether verbal or a button press, will just confirm your phone number is indeed active. If you think you've been targeted, write down the phone number and file a scam report with the BBB's Scam Tracker and the FTC's Do Not Call list—and check your credit card and other accounts for unwanted charges. (Read more scam stories.)

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