BBB gets thousands of complaints of "Can you hear me?" scam

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - A lot of people are hearing from scammers using the "Can you hear me?" con.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says it's had 250 reports of the phone scam since January 26, and nationwide the BBB received more than 2,100 complaints.

The scammers call and, maybe after a brief pause or rustling on the phone, ask if you can hear them.

The goal is to get a recording of you saying "yes" -- which can then be edited to make it sound like you agreed to a major purchase.

The scam has been around for years and originally targeted businesses, which would receive office supplies or invoices for directory ads they didn't knowingly order. The BBB isn't sure what the scammers' end game is. Some callers report the scammers talk about vacation packages, cruises or warranties.

The BBB says be aware that scammers change their tactics, but if someone you don't know calls and is trying to get a simple "yes" answer to that or other questions, hang up immediately.

If you received one of these calls and you did answer yes, the BBB recommends you monitor your credit card and bank statements and also your phone bill, in case the scammers are trying to add a charge to your phone account.

Advice from the BBB:

  • Use Caller ID and don’t answer calls from numbers you’re not familiar with. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.

  • Write down the number and report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.

  • Get on the Do Not Call Registry at Scammers ignore the Do Not Call list, but it could reduce telemarketing calls, making it easier to notice the ones that may be fraudulent.