Police are warning cellphone users of a terrifying new scam, multiple news agencies report.
The scam is brilliantly simple: all it consists of is a scammer calling from an unfamiliar number (but often one with a familiar area code) and asking, "Can you hear me?"
It seems like a simple question, and most people would just answer, "Yes." In this case, however, the hacker records you saying "Yes" and then uses the response to authorize credit card or bill charges.
"You say 'yes,' it gets recorded and they say that you have agreed to something," Susan Grant, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America, told CBS News. "I know that people think it's impolite to hang up, but it's a good strategy."
While "Can you hear me?" seems to be the most popular question, scammers are using other questions that would prompt a "Yes" response, like "Are you the homeowner?" and "Do you pay the bills."
Fox News provided the following tips 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.
If you do receive a suspicious call, authorities are advising people to hang up right away and call 911. And if you've already received a call like this, make sure to carefully monitor your credit activity!