'Can you hear me?' phone scam reaches Tampa

Beware new "can you hear me" trick

TAMPA -- “Can you hear me now?”

If you heard that question on the phone, you’d probably answer “Yes,” even if you didn’t know who was on the line. However, that could cost you big time.

People in the Tampa area are getting calls that appear to be a scam. The caller, which is really a recording, explains that they’re with a credit card company or warranty department. Then they say they’re having trouble with their headset and ask, “Can you hear me?”

The scammers record the call, so they now have a recording of you saying “Yes.” They can use that to pay for products or services without your knowledge.

Lori Goodwin, who lives in Tampa, has been getting about three of these calls every week for the last several months.

“If you hear someone say 'I can't hear you' or 'Can you hear me,' the first reaction you have is to say 'Yes,'” she said. “It's almost instinctual, so that's what they're looking for.”

Goodwin said she's always just hung up the phone, but she didn't realize until recently how dangerous those calls can be.

Tampa police tell 10News they haven’t gotten any reports of these calls yet, but if they do it’d be difficult to track down the caller.

“Because of the nature of the communication, you could be making the call from anywhere, from India or Cleveland,” police spokesperson Steve Hegarty said.

Callers from other parts of the country or world would be outside of their jurisdiction. Still, Hegarty said if you do get this type of call, you should hang up. You can report it to police or to the Federal Trade Commission, he advised.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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