LOS ANGELES & SAN JOSE – The "Can You Hear Me?" con is back this spring with a travel-themed twist: scammers are pretending to be from Trip Advisor.
How the Scam Works
You get a call from someone claiming to work for Trip Advisor (some attentive targets report that callers really say "a trip advisor"). Typically, the first thing the "Trip Advisor representative" asks is "Can you hear me?" Sometimes the scammer claims to be having trouble with his/her headset.
Don't respond and hang up! If you say "yes" the caller will try to sell you a travel package such as a discounted resort stay or a cruise. The "Can You Hear Me" scam suddenly seems to be everywhere and this is just the latest iteration. In many cases, the scammer already has the victim's phone number, credit card number or cable bill as the result of a data breach. These bits of information can be used to authorize third-party charges. When the victim disputes the charges, the scammer can use the recorded "yes" to confirm that they have consent.
How to Spot a "Can You Hear Me?" Con
Hang up and don't call back. It’s tempting to get the last word, but you may end up giving scammers information they can use later.
Don't believe Caller ID. Caller ID spoofing makes it very easy for callers to pretend to be someone else. Scammers have also posed as everyone from immigration authorities to utility company representatives to local police.
Join the Do Not Call Registry to cut down on telemarketing and sales calls. Although it won't stop scammers you'll get fewer calls, making it easier to spot the fraudulent ones.
Always check your credit card, phone and cable statements carefully for any unfamiliar charges. If you suspect you have been victimized call the billing company and dispute anything you didn’t authorize.
Read more about "Can You Hear Me?" cons on BBB.org. Learn about securing your ID.
To report a scam, visit BBB ScamTracker.