Scary New Phone Scam Leaves Your Kids Vulnerable With 1 Simple Word

Woman reading sad sms message on the phone
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Another day, another scam. With so many people glued to their phones these days (watch out for that lamp post), swindlers have found a new way to try to steal your identity that you'll definitely want to tell your children about. The "Can You Hear Me Now?" scam might sound like some prank call a kid would do, but it's actually a threat that can leave you vulnerable with only one simple word.

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Robocall scammers are calling people at random in attempts to prompt and record your "yes" response to the classic question, "Can you hear me now?"

The only problem is, answering the question could be quite costly. Once these con artists have your verbal confirmation, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports they'll likely use it to pay for a product or service that can lead to unwanted charges on your phone or utility bills.

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CBS News notes scammers can use your phone number to send third-party charges your way and can even get access to your personal information, like your credit card number. Should you have an issue with these newfound charges (seriously, who the heck wouldn't?), the scammer can then refute your dispute by saying you gave verbal confirmation.

Yikes!

Aside from being all sorts of WTF scary, this "Can you hear me now?" scam has the potential to affect so many families, as studies show kids are getting cell phones at younger and younger ages.

Can you picture a kid politely answering "yes" to a seemingly harmless phone call?

Yup, I sure can.

Thankfully, my kids are still toddlers, but I can only imagine their response to the "Can you hear me now?" prompt if they were older.

"Can I what?"

"What?"

"Who is this?"

"YES, I can hear you!"

And thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, I wouldn't be surprised if con artists were able to take the babblings of a tween, teen, or even a small kid to make it sound as if they got my blessing to screw up my bills.

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So, what can people -- including parents -- do to protect themselves and their families from these robocall scammers?

The Better Business Bureau advises everyone take the following preventative steps against the "Can You Hear Me Now?" scam that, hopefully, will prevent folks from becoming victims:

1. Hang up on unsolicited robocalls.

As the BBB mentions, companies that randomly decide to call you out of the blue can very well be a scam. If you do receive a robocall and you're asked to answer questions, try not to answer using "yes," "sure," or "okay."

2. Hang up the phone if you're prompted to press a button to sign up for the Do Not Call registry.

"Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help scam artists identify that you have an active phone number," the BBB notes.

3. Jot down the number that called you (assuming it isn't unknown).

You should use the number to file a report with the BBB Scam Tracker, along with the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Call list. If, heaven forbid, you are the victim of the "Can You Hear Me Now" scam, CBS News advises you to contact the Federal Trade Commission to dispute the charges.

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Hopefully these tips will keep you and your family protected from this phone scam craziness.

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