Can A Yes Cost You Money? By John Young
The phone rings, you check the caller ID and don’t recognize the phone number.
“Hello?” you say. There isn’t an immediate answer.
(Background noise) “Hi! Goodness, this phone is just acting up again today! Can you hear me ok?”
An innocent question that one would tend to answer without thinking twice. “Yes, I can hear you ok.”
BUT, this is a recent scam allowing scammers to steal your “Yes” for later use.
Why would they want that? What can they do with that?
Plenty these days! Many transactions online can now be authorized with just your “Yes” and it can cost you a TON. With a bit of information they find on the internet about you (yes, it is out there if you know how to look) they can charge things to a variety of your accounts.
These calls are most often something called a robo call. This is a computer programmed to interact with a caller. The lines they read are recorded and the computer on the other end can distinguish between some statements you say and then can respond in a way that sounds like a live, reacting person! Their goal is to get the audio they need to steal your identity for future damage to your finances. You will also have some of these scam calls that are utilizing a live person on the other end of the line. But in this day of automation, they can have computers calling much cheaper than a live person.
What should you do? First off, if you don’t recognize the phone number, let it go to voice mail. If you do answer and there is a delay before they respond to your answering (robo calling systems will dial dozens of numbers at the same time and once a person picks up, the system routes it to the first live person on their end) it is most likely a solicitor or scammer. Now, there ARE some legitimate calls that start like this. When I travel my credit card companies call and sound like this when they are confirming charges. So, it isn’t always an easy way to sort out incoming calls.
Secondly, if you are asked a question right away that would typically be answered with a “Yes”.. pause, and give them a “I don’t understand?” This can cause the system to repeat the same question, which will let you know it is a computer system fishing for your “Yes” and it is time to hang up!
These calls have been coming to land line phone most of the time. Yet, now they are now also starting to hit cell phone numbers also. If you are finding you are getting a few of these calls from the same number, you can block that fairly easily via your iPhone (learn how to do this at https://smalltowndiy.com/how-to-block-a-caller-on-the-iphone-from-scammers-and-robo-callers-small-town-business-diy/ and look in the featured post area).
Typically, they can change their caller ID number from call to call and from area code to area code so you can’t block them very easily.
The best one I have seen was when my phone’s caller ID showed MY phone number as calling myself. That was really a ‘I don’t understand’ moment!!