The Real Purpose Of The “Can You Hear Me?” Phone Scam

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Hey there!

Scammers are nothing if not ingenious. And there’s a scam that’s been going around for years I want you to be particularly aware of. And even though it can be harmfule, we’re giving scammers a bit more credit than they’re due.

It’s called the “Can You Hear Me?” scam. Here’s what it really is, how to recognize it, and how to avoid it.

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Hope this helps!


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hey there it’s David H Lawrence the 17th
and a lot of talk recently about a scam
that was covered by a couple of the
networks I think the network’s news
watch each other and make sure that
they’re covering similar stories but
they covered the story of this phone
scam that’s been happening not just
recently but for at least five years
that I know of
I’ve been reading about it I’ve been
reading sort of the back and forth and
the claims about it that don’t seem to
make sense to me but it’s certainly
something that I want to make you aware
of and I want to show you how to avoid
it’s called the can you hear me
scam and here’s how it works it takes
advantage of our desire to be helpful it
takes advantage of our natural response
to somebody asking us a question and usk
wanting to be helpful so the way it
works is you get a phone call and the
first thing you do when you pick up the
phone hello
that hello triggers either a live
operator to join the call or just a
simple recording and the first thing
that that operator or the recording says
is can you hear me now your natural
response at that point is to go yes and
it’s not likely that you would have a
recorded a phone message outbound
voicemail message that was like Hello
and then a long pause and then yes so
that confirms for them that it’s a live
call and what’s been you know
conjectured is that not only is that why
they’re calling to see if there’s
somebody live at the other end of the
line but that they’re recording this and
they can use that yes with systems that
require your verbal approval to move
through a sales process or to prove that
when you get a fake bill from one of
these companies like you bought a
product that they never sent you or
whatever but they have your yes and they
can say to the credit card company oh no
they said yes we’ve got it on a
recording so there has never
been as far as I know and as far as
sites like Snopes and others that
attract these things there’s never been
an actually proven case of somebody
receiving a bill based on the fact that
they just said yes when somebody was
recording them and that’s the the proof
that they offered so what the call then
continues to do is are you sure cuz I
can’t hear you very well can you hear me
they’ll do it one more time now at that
point when they have you saying yes
twice they’ll probably just hang up and
the real reason they’re doing it is not
so they can use those recordings if they
even are recording them to claim that
you purchase something or said yes to a
purchase that you didn’t pay for or that
you paid for you found it on your bill
and then you dispute it all they’re
doing is the same thing that email
spammers do when they send out a note
that isn’t trying to sell you something
isn’t trying to get you to log into a
site so they can get your credentials
they just want to know if there’s a live
person at the other end of the email
connection they just want to know in
this case is there a live person at the
other end of this phone number or is it
one of those Google Voice numbers or is
it a number for a business right it’s to
verify that your number is a good one
for actual live calls for other scammers
that will call you directly it’s the
exact same thing as the confirm the
email this is the confirmed numbers
right so what they’ll do is they’ll
gather a whole list of these things
together the whole list of these numbers
together of people that have said yes
yes I can hear you yes and they will
sell them at a premium to other Robo
calling systems that’s what it’s all
about it’s not about using an IVR system
to play back your yes so they can get
into your account or things like that
it’s just it’s not first of all none of
those systems use actual voice
recognition voice pattern recognition
they it could be anybody saying yes if
they say would you like service and you
say yes it could be you saying yes it
could be anybody saying yes so they
don’t need it for that so if you
you ever read an article where somebody
saying Oh be careful because they’re
gonna record your voice and then use it
like in those spy movies where they kill
somebody they chop their hand off and
then they use their thumb on a on a
thumb pad on a pad on a keypad right no
that’s not what it’s all about our
instinct is to be helpful but in this
case what you can do is first of all
don’t answer calls that the number is
one that you don’t recognize that’s an
easy filter another filter is to train
yourself when you hear the phrase can
you hear me just hang up if it’s
somebody that you know they’ll call back
if it’s not somebody you know the system
has noted that you didn’t say yes and so
it’ll move on to the next system in the
list of robo calls that it’s making I
know you want to be helpful I want to be
helpful everybody wants to be helpful
right but when you hear the phrase can
you hear me or are you there just hang
up there’s no reason for that to be the
first thing that somebody says and when
you make calls you’re you’re gonna be
the one that identifies yourself you
know they should be identifying
themselves but if the first thing they
say is can you hear me or are you there
and then they follow it up with are you
sure you can hear me something isn’t
right just hang up don’t play with them
don’t say well maybe is this a scam call
don’t do what you see people doing in
YouTube videos where they answer the
phone a particular way to have fun with
scammers and recording it for the don’t
do that just don’t do that just hang up
that’s the way to handle that I hope
that helps any other scams that you know
of that you’ve been getting recently I’d
love to know
I like collect scams like other people
collect stamps or coins
I love investigating scams it helps me
understand the way the human mind works
it helped me on it helps me understand
emotional triggers and it’s fascinating
to me so in the comments below if you’re
watching this video anywhere but on VOD
gogo comm pop over to vo – go go comm we
got plenty of stuff there for you all
kinds of cool things
and that’s where I’d love for you to put
your comments let me know if if you
haven’t gotten one of these calls or
what you’ve done or what you do I’d
really love to know I’m just fascinated
by this whole thing we are just a few
episodes away from the ask me anything
episode so if you’ve got a question for
me about anything regarding what I do
for a living what I teach these videos
anything it’s an AMA and ask me anything
go ahead and leave a comment below I’ll
be calling all the comments of the first
99 episodes to see if there’s any great
questions there and if you haven’t left
a comment go ahead and send me I’m
getting some great emails from people
already send me an email with in the
subject line it should say AMA question
so ask me anything AMA question and it
can be anything I’ll answer whatever you
whatever you ask me I’d be thrilled to
do that and that’s coming up in at
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you I’m David H Lawrence the 17th I hope
you can hear me I will talk to you



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  1. I’m always amused when the “tech support department of Microsoft” tells me I have terrible problems with Windows–on my Mac. Yep, they really know their stuff, those “technicians” in Calcutta.

    1. I get those, too, and we have nothing but Macs in our house. So I usually laugh at them and hang up.

  2. Or just don’t answer the phone for numbers that are restricted or that you don’t recognize from cities you don’t think you know anyone, let them leave a message. If you need to get back with them, you can. Or not.

  3. The one that got me (only once) is when she cutesy female on the other end of the phone is laughing because she’s having trouble with her headset. It’s another version of the “can you hear me,” and the first time it was very convincing.

  4. Scammers make me so sad. It’s so hard to believe that scammers do what they do without enough horrible guilt that they would never do it in the first place. Sigh! Thanks for the video David.

  5. Several years ago I started answering any call for which I didn’t recognize the number. If it’s important they’ll leave a message. I rarely get any messages. What’s interesting is that I get more call on my cell phone that my land line which rarely gets any and both numbers are on the do not call list.