The Winchester Police Department is warning residents about a new phone scam that is circulating the area. The scam asks victims to say the word “yes” in a phone conversation.
How it Works
You may receive a recorded call from someone who introduces themselves as an employee of a well-known business (example: Comcast, Verizon, etc.). The recording then asks if the caller can hear them clearly by saying, “Can you hear me?” A scam artist behind the recording could use your recorded answer “yes” to sign you up for a service or product. They may later demand payment and use the recorded answer to confirm the purchase.
Here are other ways scammers might get you to say “yes”:
- Are you the homeowner?
- Are you over 18?
- Do you pay the household bills?
- Do you have a home computer?
This scam is not a new one, but reports have spread rapidly across the country in the last few days, including several reports in Winchester.
How to Protect Yourself
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers.
- Avoid answering “yes,” “sure,” or “OK” to any questions. One response that could be used for these questions is: “Who are you, and why do you want to know?”
- If someone begins asking a yes/no question, hang up immediately.
- Join the Do Not Call Registry by visiting www.donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register. This may not protect you from all scams, but it can decrease your chances of receiving some phone calls from scammers and telemarketers overall.
If You Suspect You were a Victim
If you believe that you have been a victim of this scam, check your credit card, phone bill, cable bill, or internet statements for any charges that are unfamiliar. Contact your bank or credit card company to flag your accounts. Victims should dispute that they did not authorize any purchases knowingly or on purpose. If the company says you have been recorded approving any charges, ask for proof. The Federal Trade Commission can also help dispute unauthorized credit card charges.
Never give out any personal identifying information over the phone. If a caller says they are part of a government agency such as Social Security, the IRS or the Department of Motor Vehicles, hang up immediately. Official government agencies communicate by mail, not phone, unless you have called them first.