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Local man reports credit card fraud by "Can you hear me?" scammers

Callers claim to have reception or headset problems to get you to say "Yes" )KOMO photo

For months, we've been warning about a new phone scam, where the caller pretends to have a bad connection. It's called the "can you hear me?" or "Yes" scam.

Consumer protection experts speculate that the scammers are recording you when you answer "yes" - so they can use your voice to authorize charges on your credit card.

Calvin Chang of Shoreline may be one of the first cases to confirm those fears.

Chang took the call on his wife's cell phone on Valentine's Day.

"The person on the other end said 'Hello, hello, can you hear me?' " Chang explained.

The calls- often recordings- started sweeping the country in January. Experts say the objective is to record your voice saying the word "yes" to use it as proof that you agreed to something.

Once Chang said yes- the caller started in on a resort vacation pitch and indicated that Chang had previously stayed at one of their properties.

Chang knew something was up. For one, it was an unsolicited call from a stranger. And secondly, he had never been to any resort. When he challenged the caller, they just hung up.

Chang says he didn't give it another thought until a few days later when his friend posted a warning about the scam on Facebook.

"Whatever you do, do not say yes," Chang read from his friend's alert.

He immediately jumped on his computer to check his credit card statement and discovered an unauthorized charge for $100.79.

"You can see it's in Stockton, California," said Chang.

The charge for and Extended Stay hotel in Stockton was made less than 24 hours after the "Can you hear me?" phone call on Valentine's Day.

Chang's credit card company reversed the charge when he filed a fraud report.

And while there are still questions as to just how scammers can use your voice for fraud- Calvin is convinced the fraud on his account is directly linked to the "Can you hear me" scam.

Again, this is the first case I couldn't find that appears to link the "Can you hear me" calls to actual fraud.

Security experts say even though the scam is still officially considered "unproven", you should never say yes, or give out any information when you get an unsolicited call. Just hang up.

Better yet, don't answer a call if you don't recognized the number on your caller ID.

Even answering the phone can be a signal that your number is active- and scammers often sell that information to other scammers.

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