All kinds of scams are on the rise nowadays, whether they happen through emails, text messages, or even phone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS.
One such fraudulent scheme that's currently making its way around the U.S. involves only saying one word on a phone call.
When you answer the phone from an unknown caller, the person asks "can you hear me," attempting to get you to respond affirmatively. Once they have a recording of you saying "yes," they can authorize unwanted charges on a phone bill, utility bill, or a stolen credit card. That's why it's so important to hang up immediately if you ever hear this question over the phone.
“You say ‘yes,’ it gets recorded and they say that you have agreed to something,” said Susan Grant, director of consumer protection for the Consumer Federation of America. “I know that people think it’s impolite to hang up, but it’s a good strategy.”
Chances are that the scammer has already accessed some of your personal information through a data breach, including your credit card number. What's worse is that they can use the recording against you if you try to deny that you made the charge.
So how can you protect yourself? If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, simply don't answer it. But if you do, make sure you aren't answering any questions that require only yes or no responses, then hang up.
It's also important to remember that calls from people claiming to represent government agencies are most likely scams as well. Legitimate communication from these agencies will happen through the mail.
If you've already become a victim of this scam, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission to dispute credit card charges. If you have unauthorized charges on your phone bill, contact the Federal Communications Commission.
(via CBS News)