Police in the US have warned residents to be wary of a telephone scam, where fraudsters record people answering the phone to help them demand huge payments.
Victims receive a phone call from a familiar local area code, and the person on the other end of the line introduces themselves and their business.
After the introduction, the person asks “Can you hear me?”. If the victim replies with “yes”, their response will be recorded for the criminal to use.
Scammers then pretend to be from a security company or holiday provider, play back the recorded verbal confirmation to the victim and threaten to take legal action if unspecified charges are not paid, according to WTKR.
People in Florida and Pennsylvania have recently reported falling victim to the scam and police in Virginia are telling people to be vigilant.
In a new guide, police have advised people “not to answer the phone from numbers you do not recognise”, refrain from giving out personal information and refuse to answer questions over the phone. Officers said the best course of action was to hang up the phone and call 911 immediately.
“Anytime you become victim to a crime, you just feel violated,” said Jo Ann Hughes of the Norfolk Police Department in Virginia. “A lot of times, victims do not want to come forward because they are embarrassed. We want people to hear this advice.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies