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'Can You Hear Me?' Scam Strikes Again, Better Business Bureau Warns

Scammers are calling up people asking if they are loud and clear only to get a “yes” in response.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Icons8 Team
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Icons8 Team

A years-old scam is continuing to target people most bizarrely. Since mid-March, the "Can you hear me?" phone call scam has resurfaced, according to the Better Business Bureau. Scammers call up unsuspecting victims asking if they are loud and clear only to get a "yes" in response from them, possibly recording it for misuse.


While it is unclear how the scam may hurt the victims, consumer advocates, including the BBB, urge people to hang up immediately if they receive such a call.

The scam starts with victims receiving a call from an unfamiliar or unknown number. The caller typically initiates the conversation by asking, "Can you hear me?" This seemingly innocuous question is designed to prompt the victim to respond with a "yes." Once the victim confirms their ability to hear, the caller promptly hangs up.


After discovering that the victim is likely to respond affirmatively in the future, the scammers may continue to contact them to elicit further positive responses.

Despite numerous reports to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there haven't been any instances of monetary loss reported. However, in the worst-case scenario, scammers could exploit recordings of victims saying "yes" to authorizing charges on their phones.

This tactic is known as a cramming scam, wherein scammers surreptitiously tack unauthorized service charges onto victims' bills once they have obtained consent or their personal information.


A study by the Federal Trade Commission found that 24% of adults over age 60 who reported losing money to a scam in 2021 said it started with a phone call—the largest percentage of any method, including email, text, and mail. For victims 80 and older, phone calls were behind 40% of scams.

"You never know how your audio voice of you saying ‘yes’ can be used, spliced in any kind of call with a bank or call with a credit card company to open a line of credit," Kelly Richmond Pope, a professor of forensic accounting at DePaul University told HuffPost.

The best way to avoid the scam is to simply hang up as soon as someone starts the call by saying "Can you hear me?" Beginning a conversation with this is the ultimate red flag that people should detect before saying anything, especially, "yes."

Caller ID apps or systems can be used to screen calls and detect spammers to avoid being a victim of any such scam. 

Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Karolina Grabowska

"Unfortunately, fraudsters never go away," Patrick Boudreau, head of identity management and fraud for TransUnion said. "What's particularly scary about that is it opens this door for tailored attacks."

The BBB advises individuals who receive suspicious calls to make note of the number and report it to This proactive step helps others remain vigilant and steer clear of falling victim to the scam. Additionally, the information collected through Scam Tracker is shared with government and law enforcement agencies, enhancing collective efforts to combat such fraudulent activities.