From commercial catch-phrases to dropped calls, we’re all familiar with the phrase “Can you hear me now,” but, today, it has a whole new meaning — one that could ruin you financially.
It starts like any other phone call. The phone rings, and you answer it with a greeting. Then, the caller asks if you can hear him or her. Once you hear the question, your normal polite response is to answer “sure,’ “yes,” or another affirmative reply. That’s it. That’s all they need.
Verbal Laws and Contracts
Once your voice is recorded with an affirmative response, that response can be applied to just about anything, and depending in which state you live in, it will be considered a legal and binding contract. For instance, Indiana recognizes verbal contracts, so getting out of a purchase you never made may not be as easy as it sounds.
It goes something like this. Your credit card, bank account, or some other financial account is charged a fee for something you never ordered. It might even be a small amount, every month or several times over so that you don’t notice it. If you do notice and protest, they simply insert your “yes” from the phone call response into the response to the question of a verbal contract. How are you going to prove that you weren’t responding to anything other than whether or not you could hear them?
Here’s what we suggest:
Create a friendly voicemail greeting that doesn’t use any form of “yes” or agreement.
Look at your Caller ID. If you don’t know the number, don’t answer the phone. If it’s important, they will leave a message.
When you answer the phone and someone asks if you can hear them, answer with a “no,” so if it’s a friend, you can have a bit of fun with them, and if it’s a scammer, they don’t get what they want. Really, say anything that you want to other than any kind of confirmation. If it’s someone you know, it may take them a minute to realize you wouldn’t be answering at all if you couldn’t hear them, but they’ll catch on eventually.
Don’t Rely on the Law Alone
Most of the time when new scams go around, the banks are alerted and consumers feel a certain sense of safety knowing that the law is on their side. But, scammers are getting clever and though what they are doing is illegal, it can be almost impossible to prove.
Don’t rely on the law alone to protect you. Try to be proactive by keeping on top of the latest scams like these and taking measures to deal with them. Yes, it’s a shame you can’t even use the word “yes” to answer what seems to be a simple question, but scammers rely on your trust and manners to make things like these work. Don’t give it to them. And don’t forget to report the number to the authorities if and when you get that phone call.