Police are warning people about a new phone scam that could cost you a lot of money. They have reports of the scam from Florida and Virginia this year and in Pennsylvania in 2016.
The way the scam works is very simple. A stranger will ask you questions like “Can you hear me now?” or “Are you a homeowner” and then record you saying “Yes”. Later they will bill you for services and when you dispute the charges, they play back your “yes” as proof that you agreed to the charges and threaten you with a lawsuit if you don’t pay up. Police say if you get such a call, do not answer any questions and hang up the phone.
The Pittsburgh Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported in October that consumers complained to the BBB about unsolicited automated calls from “an employee” of a home security agency, cruise line, or social security firm, Fox News reported.
Scammers used phrases such as, “Are you the lady of the house?”, “Do you pay the household telephone bills?”, or “Are you the homeowner?”
Similar calls are being reported in Virginia with scammers asking the question, “Can you hear me?”
“Usually it has a familiar area code,” Officer Jo Ann Hughes with the Norfolk Police Department told WTKR.
Police suggest taking the following steps to avoid this scam:
- Do not answer the phone from numbers you do not recognize,
- Do not give out personal information,
- Do not confirm your number over the phone,
- Do not answer questions over the phone.