A phone scam could see people lose money with just a simple word: "Yes."
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is warning people that when they pick up the phone and hear someone ask them ‘Can you hear me?’ to say no, or better yet, hang up.
If you do respond ‘yes’ to the automated voice, the scammer will obtain your voice signature, which can legally take the place of a signature you'd sign with a pen.
An FCC statement reads:
According to complaints the FCC has received and public news reports, the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organisations that provide a service and may be familiar to the person receiving the call, such as a mortgage lender or utility, to establish a legitimate reason for trying to reach the consumer.
This isn’t the first time this scam has made an appearance. A similar trick was used to force people to pay money to a fake security company or holiday provider, on pain of legal action.
Here are some tips from the City of London to prevent you from being tricked by phone scammers:
Be suspicious of all unsolicited phone calls
Never reveal personal or financial information, including your PIN or bank card to anyone
Don’t feel pressured into making an investment or financial decision
The police and banks will never ring you and ask you to verify your PIN, withdraw cash, transfer money to a ‘safe’ account or purchase high value goods
In order to clear your line from the fraudster, wait at least five minutes before making another call
If you think you have been the victim of a phone scam, you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040