Can you hear me frauds: No evidence that this is actually happening
Over the last several weeks there have been many news reports asserting that there is a new fraud underway in which a person receives a phone call that asks “Can you hear me.” When the person answering the phone says “Yes” the call ends. This is then supposedly used to sign people up for things they don’t want and didn’t intend to buy.
But is this true? Is this happening? Snopes.com has reported that they have been unable to verify that this is actually happening. I have also talked to the Canadian Antifraud Centre, which handles mass marketing fraud complaints from all Canadian (and even American) consumers, and they tell me that they have seen absolutely no evidence that this is a real fraud tactic.
Do scam tape record victims? Absolutely. Telemarketing frauds, especially those that take payment by credit cards, routinely tape record a “verification” after they make a deceptive sale. They use these recordings to challenge those who later realize that they have been defrauded and challenge the transaction with their credit card company. Of course these verifications recordings do not include the deceptive claims. The FTC has also seen companies that claim they have such recordings even when they do not. Other frauds even doctor these tapes to make it appear that victims agreed to the charges when they really did not. This tactic may stave off complaints by individual challenges, but I have never seen this work as a defense in an FTC consumer fraud case.