Update: a reader has directed us to a Snopes report where apparently the scam story is not true or at least the "yes" has no real value. Here is the link http://www.snopes.com/can-you-hear-me-scam/. We would still encourage people to be cautious with revealing any personal information, regardless of whether the yes is crucial for a scam or not.
If someone you don’t know asks if you can hear them on the phone, just say no.
A very tricky phone scam is making the rounds and at least one Pickens County home has received the scam call.
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, this is an old scam from the business world, but has recently been used against individuals.
In the scam, a fraudster will call pretending to be any number of businesses or from the Social Security office, according to an online account of the scam. Some common calls concern vacation packages and warranties.
They will get around to asking a question where your answer is likely yes. It may also be a robocall doing the work. The most common question is “can you hear me?” but they may also ask if you are the owner of the home or something else that leads you to answer affirmatively.
Then in some fashion, they plug your recorded “yes” into another context, likely authorizing a purchase or beginning some service.
According to the online research and warnings, the “yes” alone is probably not enough for a cyber thief to do anything. They would need other personal information.
A worse-case scenario is after saying yes, you’ll see a charge on your next credit card bill for something you didn’t order.
According to the online safety websites, it’s important to protect even small bits of personal information as with scams like this, the crook may not hit a home run, like getting your credit card number, but might build up enough little stuff to create a fake you (identity theft) and then apply or buy as that newly-created identity.
Check out the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org for more safety tips online.