FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 10, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Scammers are recording New Mexicans’ voice responses for potential fraud
Albuquerque, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a Scam Alert regarding ‘Can you hear me’ phone scams. Scammers attempt to get victims to say the word “yes” during a call and later use a recording of the response to authorize unwanted charges on the victim’s utility or credit card account. According to complaints the Office of the Attorney General and the FCC have received, the fraudulent callers impersonate representatives from organizations 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.
“Criminals are constantly thinking of new ways to scam and defraud our families, and this is just the latest scam hitting New Mexico,” said Attorney General Balderas. “Be diligent and take precautions like letting unknown numbers go to voicemail and asking your cell phone provider to block incoming robocalls.”
The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, “Can you hear me?” The caller then records the consumer’s “Yes” response and thus obtains a voice signature. This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.
If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded to this type of call, review all of your statements such as those from your bank, credit card lender, or telephone company for unauthorized charges. If you notice unauthorized charges on these and other types of statements, you have likely been a victim of “cramming”.
If you believe you have been targeted by this scam, please report the incident to the Office of the Attorney General.
Consumers should always be on alert for telephone scams. The following tips can help protect you against unwanted calls and scams:
- Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
- If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents.
- If you answer a call from an unknown number, ask for them to identify themselves before responding to any questions, a simple “I’m sorry who am I speaking with?” may save you from falling victim to these scams.
- If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General.
- Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service.
- Consider registering all of your telephone numbers in the National Do Not Call Registry.
Consumers can contact the Office of the Attorney General toll free at 1-844-255-9210 or by visiting https://nmdoj.flywheelsites.com/consumer-complaint-instructions.aspx.