As the first month of 2017 comes to a close, some residents have reported getting scam calls. While most are the same attempts at old scams, some have a different twist. Many news outlets around the country are reporting on a scam called the “Can you hear me?” scam. We’ve had at least one Greenwich resident report receiving a call that attempted this scam.
The Better Business Bureau describes how the “Can you hear me?” scam works:
“You receive a recorded call from someone who provides an introduction and identifies the business or agency they supposedly represent. Recent scam reports identify the caller as being from a home security agency, a cruise line or associated with social security. After the introduction, the recording will ask if you can hear the caller clearly. If you answer "yes" there's a possibility that the scam artist behind the phone call has recorded you and will use your agreement to sign you up for a product or service and then demand payment. If you refuse, the caller may produce your recorded "yes" response to confirm your purchase agreement.”They also list what you should do if you receive one of these calls:“If you receive an unsolicited robo-call from an organization or business, just hang up. If you are on the Do Not Call List and a company calls out of the blue to ask questions, it's likely a scam. Avoid responding with "yes, sure or ok."
If you are asked a similar question in a phone call or are asked to press a button to be placed on the Do Not Call Registry, just hang up the phone. Saying anything or pressing buttons when prompted may help the scam artists identify that you have an active phone number. Remember that no government agency will ever solicit for the Do Not Call Registry.
Write down the phone number of those callers violating the Do Not Call Registry and file a scam report with BBB Scam Tracker and the FTC's Do Not Call List.
Other Washington County residents report receiving the Publisher’s Clearing House scam.
The Better Business Bureau says the scammer, who pretends to be a representative of Publisher's Clearing House, contacts you by a phone call, mail or now, even by a Facebook friend request. The con artist usually instructs the consumer to go to a local discount department store or pharmacy and load money on to a Green Dot Money Pak to cover prize fees or taxes. Green Dot Money Paks are almost impossible to trace and therefore commonly used in scams.
Mailings sent to local residents from someone claiming to be with Publisher’s Clearing House, Reader’s Digest or other popular sweepstakes typically come with a check that is made payable to the recipient for thousands of dollars. Recipients are asked to cash the check and wire at least part of the funds back to the sender.
Unfortunately, these checks always prove to be counterfeit and people sending over money for fees eventually learn that they have received nothing in return. If you deposit a bogus check or money order into your account, you will be held responsible for any money you spend or send to anyone else once your financial institution confirms that the check or money order is counterfeit.
Legitimate lotteries usually send winning notices by certified mail, Federal Express, UPS or DHL. If you play the lottery online, you may be notified by email; however, you still must log in to your account to see if you have won anything, and if so, notify them which payment option you prefer. Keep in mind that it is illegal to participate in a foreign lottery by using U.S. mail services.
Publishers Clearing House (PCH) reports that they do not call anyone to notify them that they’ve won money. If you've won less than $600.00 they will mail you a check. If you've won between $601 and $10,000.00, an affidavit is mailed, which must be completed and returned, and after the information has been verified, a check is sent by mail to the winner. If you've won more than $10,000.00, the prize patrol delivers the money in person. You can reach the PCH fraud hot line at 800-392-4190 if you receive a suspicious call from anyone claiming to represent their company.
To help you avoid any scams claiming that you have won something, remember these tips:
You can’t win a contest you didn’t enter.
You should never pay in order to receive a prize-- even a small fee.
Never give your personal information to a stranger over the phone or Internet.
It is illegal to participate in a foreign lottery by using U.S. mail services.
Often times these scam calls come from an 876 area code, which is a Jamaican area code, and Publisher's Clearing House does not exist in Jamaica.