Police Warn US Residents to Hang Up Immediately If Unknown Caller Asks ‘Can You Hear Me?’

A threatening new phone scam is on the rise, and it’s all to do with one simple question: “can you hear me?” Police in Norfolk, Virginia – where the scam is believed to have originated – have been warning local residents not to answer the phone from numbers they do not recognise. In desperate circumstances, they’re advising hang up and call 911 immediately.
Police say you’ll receive a phone call from a number you do not know. It’ll most likely have a familiar area code, because that’ll make the potential victim more likely to answer the call.

Once you answer the phone, a person on the other end of the line introduces themselves and their business. Then comes the question: “can you hear me?”
Our natural response to the question “can you hear me?” is to say, yes. However, this is exactly what you shouldn’t do. That’s because scammers then record your yes response, and then use it to sign you up for a product or service you never asked for.
If you try to deny the charges, the scammers will play back your “yes” and threaten to take legal action if you don’t pay. Officer Jo Ann Hughes from the Norfolk Police Department said: “A lot of times, victims do not want to come forward because they are embarrassed. They feel like, ‘It was my fault. I should have known better,’ and they are just embarrassed by it all together. So we do not get a whole lot of reports, unfortunately.”

If you want to avoid getting scammed, police are advising citizens to never answer the phone from numbers you do not recognise. Additionally, don’t give out personal information, never confirm your number over the phone, never answer questions over the phone. If you feel threatened, hang up the phone and call 911 instead.