Can you hear me?

The question posed to many unsuspecting victims over the telephone in a scam that is said to be sweeping the US, and is now making its way to UK shores.

The main point to stress here is don’t say yes! This is exactly what these scammers are looking for; instead you should hang up immediately. At least that’s the advice coming from sources across the web to save innocents who are being conned out of their hard-earned cash.

We’re not sure of the scale or validity of this new phone scam, however reports suggest the newest tactic of gleaming money from innocents sees fraudsters trying to get their victims to willingly hand over a verbal signature. Essentially, after an initial few words from the fraudster on the phone they ask:

“Can you hear me?”

The obvious reply would be “yes”, however from what we’ve heard the best thing to do is hang up at this point to ensure you don’t become a victim. It’s been reported that hackers are using the voices of those unwittingly replying to their question and making purchases on their behalf.

Fraudsters will use your voice as recognition (voice signature) to charge you for products and services. It’s deemed a verbal contract, and is similar to you ticking an ‘I agree to the terms of this…’ box online.

Reportedly a popular scam in the US, this looks set to hit the UK with a number of local reports across the country warning residents this phone call could be heading their way.

However, it would seem that as well as possessing a snippet of your voice, hackers would also need your bank/credit card details in order to make these unauthorised purchases. Unfortunately these callers could already have your details and merely need a sound snippet of your voice to fill the final piece of the puzzle.

Although this scam is largely targeting individuals in a domestic environment, there are many phone scams directed at UK businesses looking to gain access to funds or personal information. These come in all shapes and sizes, from people calling requesting transfers and pressuring the caller into submission, to hacking actual phone lines.

The phone-hacking scam that is costing UK businesses an estimated £1bn sees fraudsters hack unused business lines, forcing the caller to ring a premium rate number. With each call making anywhere up to £10, it’s a very lucrative scam.

An Austrian Aerospace company unwittingly made large bank transfers to fraudsters. The employee who made the transfer believed her boss to have ordered this and was pressured over the phone into transferring quickly without double checking. You can read more about this case in our blog, CEO Fraud and Whaling the attacks you must know about.

Another company based in Suffolk handed over more than £1million to someone claimed to be from the company’s bank. This caller claimed that the organisation’s online banking system had a virus and advised funds should be transferred to “holding accounts.”

Top tips for keeping secure online and over the phone
  • Never share your pin (even with your bank – they’ll also give you this advice).
  • Keep your online/over-the-phone passwords safe and unique.
  • Personal details – If someone calls and asks you to provide details regarding your account you have every right to say no or ask for proof that they are who they say they are.
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) so you can avoid a plethora of unsolicited calls.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on links you think may not be authentic. Visit websites directly rather than clicking through from an email.
  • Don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Want to know more about online safety? Read some of our other blogs here: 

Vishing, Smishing and Phishing- I know right? 

Email Spoofing Exposed 

Headline Hacks of 2016