(WSPA) – The newest scam to hit your phone could get you in trouble just for saying the word “yes.”
It starts, innocently enough, when you pick up a number you don’t recognize like Amy Owens in Greenville, South Carolina, did this week.
“There was a pause, and someone said, Oh, you’re there. And I said hello. And she said, oh wait a second my headset’s messing up and I paused and she started speaking very quickly about a special they were having or something they were trying to sell me.”
Turns out that robocall started out as a message and when the recipient speaks back, it signals an active person to get on the line.
Then, at some point the caller asks something like ” Can you hear me?”
“And I said yes,” said Owens.
That one simple word can then be used against you.
Reports to police and the Better Business Bureau across the country show the scam artists record you and may use your affirmative answer as proof that you signed up for a service like home security or a cruise line.
“We don’t advise people to carry on the conversation with them, in the event that they are recording your voice, you know they may be using your recording for fraudulent charges or anything like that, so it’s not, the best thing to do is just to hang up,” said Drew Pinciaro with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
In another version of this scam, the caller may already have your credit card number through a prior hack and is using the recording to authorize charges.
The BBB adds, even if you’re asked a similar question or to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call registry, don’t do it. Saying anything or following a prompt may help scam artists identify which phone numbers are active.
Also, keep in mind. It’s easy for scammers nowadays to manipulate the phone number so even if it’s the local area code, if you don’t recognize it, let it go to voicemail.
“It’s a total invasion of privacy, it’s not right at all,” said Owens.
She plans to report the number to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-888-382-1222. It’s the best way to help shutdown these illegal sales tactics, and also to watch her financial accounts very closely.