People That Hear A 4-Word Phrase From Unknown Callers Need To Hang Up Right Away

People That Hear A 4-Word Phrase From Unknown Callers Need To Hang Up Right Away

You probably think you know how to tell a scam call from a legit one. But scammers are getting bolder, braver, and cleverer at conning folks — especially with a nasty new trick. One Seattle man knows that to his cost. When he responded to a seemingly innocent four-word phrase, he had to deal with the shocking consequences.

Unknown Caller

And of all things, the scam happened on Valentine’s Day. Shoreline resident Calvin Chang was all set for a romantic night out. Then, suddenly, an unusual number buzzed up on his wife’s cell phone.

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Unexpected Question

Seeing that his wife was still busy getting ready, Calvin picked the phone up. At first, he expected it to be just another robocall. But as he lifted the phone to his ear, Calvin was caught off-guard by a human voice asking him one simple question.

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Natural Reply

“Hello? Hello? Can you hear me?” asked the woman over a seemingly poor connection. Naturally, Calvin replied as anyone else would: with a clear, albeit slightly confused, “yes.” An innocent enough response — or so it seemed.

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Just Spam

The caller then began her sales pitch, offering Calvin great rates on hotel stays in California. She even claimed that he’d visited one of their properties before. But Calvin wasn’t falling for it. He challenged the caller’s claims, and she hung up. Even then, his ordeal was far from over.

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No One-Off Incident

At first, Calvin quickly shook off the strange interaction. After all, he had a romantic evening to get back to. But as he browsed his Facebook feed just a few days later, he spotted a post that brought the unusual call roaring back to the forefront of his mind.

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Don’t Say “Yes”

According to Calvin’s friend, scammers were now pulling a new telephone scheme where they faked a poor connection. And they asked victims things like “Can you hear me?” or “Are you there?” That had to be familiar to Calvin. “Whatever you do, do not say ‘yes,'” the friend pleaded. And he went on to explain why.

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A Shocking Scam

Calvin’s buddy claimed that the scammer will then record your “yes” for use as a voice signature. That could give them access to your finances and even the ability to order a copy of your credit card. And Calvin couldn’t believe it. He thought there was no way he had fallen victim to this complicated scam — until he checked his accounts.

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He’d Been Had

Sure enough, a mysterious $100.79 charge stared back at Calvin. Frantic, he checked the details of the payment — and his jaw hit the floor. It was for a stay at a hotel in California. But how did he know the suspicious charge was connected to the call? He didn’t at first, but he had his suspicions.

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Fact Or Fiction

The charge had been made less than 24 hours after Calvin’s “Can you hear me?” call. That left the Seattle man convinced the woman had used his voice signature to get hold of his personal info. And as Calvin started digging into the fraud, he discovered this was way bigger than just a viral Facebook warning.

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Could Be Coincidence?

As it turns out, the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau had also cautioned about the scam. And while many called Calvin’s story a case of simple coincidence, he wasn’t convinced. How could he be sure that the “Can you hear me?” trick wasn’t part of some other stealthy phone scam?

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You Owe Us

Calvin had a point. There are many known phone scamming tactics that are easy to fall victim to. For example, while it’s always intimidating to hear from the IRS, you should remain calm if you receive a phone call from someone claiming you owe back taxes.

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Wait For A Letter

And there’s one mistake you should never make on that call. Don’t give out any personal or financial information! If the IRS needs to contact you, it’ll do so in writing and use official letterhead. Scammers come in many other guises, too.

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Beware The Bank

Criminals regularly pose as bank representatives, asking you to confirm a transaction or verify your credit card’s security code. So how should you respond to this sort of call? Sometimes, they may sound totally legit.

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Double Check

Once again, don’t give out any personal information. And if you’re in doubt, hang up and call your bank’s customer service line. They can verify if your caller was an official representative or a scammer.

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One Ring To Fool Them All

Then there’s another weirder trick. All spam calls might be annoying, but there’s something extra irritating about the kind that hang up after one ring. What is that caller even hoping to accomplish?

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A Pricey Mistake

Basically, the person on the other end is hoping that you see a missed call and call the number back. But be warned. Those phone lines often charge by the minute, with fees as high as $17 per 60 seconds, so don’t indulge your curiosity.

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We Have Your Son

Some nefarious scammers will call you pretending to be a kidnapper asking for a ransom payment. Again, though, never give your information away. Instead, you should reach out to the person they claim to have captured and, if necessary, the authorities. And there are even more scams you need to know about.

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Tech Issues

Have you ever received a phone call from Apple, Microsoft, or any other technology company claiming that they’ve noticed a virus on your device? Well, you’ll know that’s a scammer by one telltale sign.

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Don’t Believe It

You see, Apple or Microsoft isn’t going to personally call you, let alone tell you about a potential virus. Unless you’ve contacted customer service recently, anyone using that alias is probably a scammer.

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Preying On the Vulnerable

Scammers have also been known to call grandparents claiming to be a grandchild in need of emergency funds. And if that happens to you, you should deal with it in the same way as you would a ‘kidnapper.’ Verify the identity of any caller before handing over any financial info.

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I’m Rich!

And if you receive a phone call informing you that you just won a massive cash prize or a luxury vacation, don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t celebrate yet, either! There’s one step you should take to verify any winnings.

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Too Good to Be True

Try to think back and remember if you’ve entered any lotteries or raffles. If you haven’t entered anything recently, there’s no way for you to have won a prize! Sorry to burst your bubble. And you should be on your guard near election day, too.

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Taking Advantage

When election season approaches, scammers start posing as members of political campaigns soliciting donations. Always verify their identities before making a pledge, however. Either ask for them to mail you some literature or research their cause and call back.

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Duty Calls

And no one wants to get into trouble with the law, so it’s understandable that you’d want to comply with a caller looking to verify your jury duty eligibility. Don’t give them any of your personal information, though!

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Mail to the Rescue

As with other official organizations, it’s unlikely that you’ll receive a legitimate call from your local court about jury duty. Just keep your eyes on the mail of official, and truthful, summonses!

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Baby Ploy

Following these tips will help keep you safe from spam phone calls, but scammers are relentless, even targeting people in plain sight. Say you’re in public, and someone asks if you wouldn’t mind holding their child while they make a phone call. The baby is squirming, so you sympathetically agree to help — but you don’t realize their accomplice is taking your wallet while you’re distracted!

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Stranger Favors

Use careful judgment if a stranger asks you to take their photo. If you accept their camera and then realize the camera doesn’t work, it’s likely a scam: they’ll accuse you of breaking it and then demand you pay for a new one. If you don’t comply, they may get angry or even try to harm you.

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Welcome Security

These days, it’s a good idea to have a security camera, particularly one that can see your mailbox. Thieves pick easy targets, and stealing important mail from your mailbox is a good way to get your bank information. Not to mention that in recent years, mail theft reports went up 600%.

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Unlucky Prize

If you ever find a letter, either in your physical mail or email, claiming “you won!” an expensive or exotic prize, you’re definitely being cheated. The proof? They usually ask you to “update your personal information,” like banking info or your SSN, in order to claim your big reward. The real reward: identity theft.

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Making A Change

Some of those mail thieves are even craftier. If they manage to get any personal information about you, they can reach out to the government or the USPS, pretend to be you, and change your mailing address to theirs. Then they’ll intercept all your mail — and there’s not much you can do about it.

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Putting On A Show

Beware of “scalpers” selling concert or sports tickets outside the venue for suspiciously low prices. There’s no way to check they’re authentic until the scanner at the door gives you the bad news. If suspicious, ask to see the scalper’s ID, or ask them to accompany you to the entrance. If they balk, don’t buy the tickets.

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Wild Wild Web

If you’ve ever tried to visit a website and your browser prevented it from loading because “your connection is not secured,” you should be grateful. Any personal information you enter on an unsecured website, like credit card details, can be stolen by scammers. Always check the website URL for “https” or a lock symbol if you’re not sure.

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Taking Credit

Be careful with your credit report. It contains your financial information, and scammers can make a pretty penny off of you by simply requesting it from your bank. It’s not difficult — all they have to do is call your bank and pretend to be your employer, whose name they can easily find on the internet.

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Ask To See Their Badge

Police officers have authority, and you’re likely to do what they say. Clever fraudsters often pose as officers, and either ask to see your wallet and come inside your home, or ask for your personal information. Whether out of respect or fear, many people naively follow these orders, and find themselves victims of theft.

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Dangerous Attachment

When using an ATM, always check the card slot carefully. If it wiggles, don’t use it: there’s a card skimmer there. This is a small, camouflaged device placed over the card slot that copies your card information while you do your business. This information is then transmitted to scammers, who can now access your bank account.

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A Not So Flashy Scheme

Have you seen a flash drive lying on the ground? Beware — don’t pick it up! It likely contains malware, which can steal your data or erase your important documents as soon as you plug it into your computer. Better to pay for a brand-new flash drive than pay a thief.

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Taxi Troubles

Are you visiting a major tourist destination? Don’t get scammed by fake taxis. These fraudsters will charge you hundreds of bucks for a ride, or offer to help take your luggage to your room — and then run away with all your stuff. Real taxi drivers have their credentials on display, so keep an eye out.


No Skimmer Needed

Keep your credit cards under close watch, even if they’re inside your wallet or purse. Using a device called a contact reader, thieves can lift the data from the magnetic stripes on your cards, just by bumping the device into you or brushing by you.


Privacy Isn’t Always Good

Does your home have high fences or dense trees surrounding it? You may be at a higher risk for burglary. Thieves don’t like houses that are visible from the street, because if a neighbor sees them breaking in, they’ll get caught. Sometimes, being more open is better.

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Casing The Joint

If you see someone lurking around your street repetitively, and they seem to be watching your house, beware. They may be trying to learn your habits to know whether you leave any doors unlocked, or find out when you’ll be away from your home. Don’t get violent, but do make it clear that you’re watching them right back.

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Important Paper Documents

Do you throw away old papers when you’re done with them? Shred them first! Thieves go through people’s trash to look for personal information, like bank details, social security numbers, account IDs, or other data, and use this information to commit identity theft and fraud.

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Shoulder Surfing

A day at the beach sounds great, but you don’t want to deal with any shoulder surfers. These are people who peer over your shoulder while you use an ATM or a checkout PIN pad. Cover the numbers with your hand and make sure no “lookie-Lou” is standing behind you.

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The Old Glue Trick

You’ve heard of the glue-a-quarter-to-the-ground trick, but it has a more dangerous cousin: gluing a phone to the ground. When you go to pick it up, you’ll get confused — why is there a phone stuck to the sidewalk? Thieves use this opportunity to steal anything in your back pocket while you’re distracted.

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Fake Staff

Avoid letting hotel staff into your room unless you’re certain they work for the hotel. Strangers can knock on your door, claim to be with the hotel, and tell you they need to fix your AC or clean something — but if they’re not telling the truth, they could be there to see if you have any valuables.

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Bumps And Spills

Watch out for people trying to bump or jostle you in crowded places. You’ll be flustered and distracted, and they’ll apologize — while reaching an unseen hand around to pinch your wallet, phone, or other valuable items. Some may even intentionally spill food on you, claim it was your fault, and then tell you to give them money for new food.

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