A phone scam is tricking people into saying ‘yes’, then using the response to make it sound as if you’ve agreed to a huge purchase.
The scam, in which users are asked ‘Can you head me?’ has been circulating the US and could be making its way across to the UK.
Police and phone-blocking companies are warning the public on what to look out for, in the hope of preventing people falling victim to the scam.
Here’s how it works and what you should be aware of.
The hoax call comes from a local number, and the speaker on the other end introduces themselves and their company.
They then ask: “Can you hear me?” despite the line being perfectly clear.
The call is recorded and if you answer ‘yes’, your response is then edited into a verbal contract to make it seem as if you’ve agreed to a huge purchase - similar to clicking ‘I agree’ to terms and conditions online.
The scammer can then swindle you out of vast amounts of money.
Users are being urged not to answer the question, and to hang up the call immediately, or don’t pick up the call at all if you don’t recognise the number.
If you do answer ‘yes’ and then try to dispute the charges for products and services you didn’t agree to, the scammers then play back the recording of you saying ‘yes’ in the ‘verbal contract’, before threatening to take legal action.
Voice signatures are not a new thing and are used by legitimate companies doing business on the phone across the world.
But scammers have now adopted the technique and the hoax has already targeted people in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
And experts say its only a matter of time before it makes its way across the pond.
UK-based telephone blocking company, CPR Call Blocker, said that the frequency of the scam is on the rise.
Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Kris Hicks, Head of Marketing at CPR Call Blocker, said: “In our experience of working across the UK and Uk, scams spread quickly across the pond.
“We have no doubt that fraudsters operating in the UK will soon start using these tactics.”
Another version of the scam involves criminals using a person’s voice recording to authorise a stolen credit card.
If you think you may be a victim of a phone scam or fraud, contact your back or card provider as soon as possible.