A new cell phone scam is hitting people by simply making them say a single word.

The Better Business Bureau is warning of a scam that they first became aware of late last year and has had a resurgence over the past few days. People have been receiving phone calls from someone claiming to represent a company, then asking a question with the intention of recording the person saying "Yes." According to the BBB,

You receive a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction about a business or agency they supposedly represent. Scam reports have indicated that the callers have represented themselves as being from various companies, such as a home security agency, a cruise line or sometimes from the government. After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly.

If you answer "yes" there's a possibility that the scam artist behind the phone call has recorded you and will use your agreement to sign you up for a product or service and then demand payment. If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded "yes" response to confirm your purchase agreement.

It is likely that the caller already has certain personal information, such as a credit card number or social security number, and intends to use the recording of your affirmation to make fraudulent purchases. The BBB reports that some of the other questions used are: "Are you the homeowner?", "Are you over 18?", "Do you pay the household bills?", and "Do you have a home computer?" The BBB have also issued some tips on how to protect yourself from the scam,

  • First and foremost, do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize. If it’s a legitimate contact, they will leave a message. Even if a scammer leaves a message, this will give you time to think about what is being asked of you.
  • If you do answer and are asked questions that seem to be fishing for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, do not respond and hang up immediately.
  • For this scam, and all others, never give out any personal identifying information over the phone when you are not sure of the caller.
  • If you believe you may have fallen for this, contact your bank and credit card companies to flag your accounts. Check your account daily - the earlier you identify unauthorized charges on your accounts, the easier it will be to recover any lost money.
  • Write down the phone number of those callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with BBB Scam Tracker and the FTC's Do Not Call List.
  • If you have questions or concerns about this or any other scam, call your BBB at 248.223.9400.


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