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How phone scams work - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How phone scams work

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

New information on a scam we first told you about on the morning news. A caller will ask "Can you hear me?" looking for you to say yes. We wondered how the word "yes" could help a scammer rip you off.

When Alex Hirsch set out to investigate this story, he was looking to prove that the scam doesn't work, but instead found out it is legitimate.

Melissa Mendelsohn of Charlotte says she gets around four of these phone calls a day, always from numbers she doesn't recognize. She has only answered once.

The Better Business Bureau says scammers are looking to record you saying the word yes.

"I don't know how the word yes applies to all of this," says Melissa Mendelsohn.

Which is something we wondered, as well. How does recording someone saying yes help a scammer when most companies don’t ask yes or no questions? We talked to Jonathon Rajewski, a digital investigator at Champlain College. He says the scammer records you saying yes and can then edit it into another piece of audio to make it sound like you gave your permission to be billed for something you never agreed to.

"Say John said yes to this and that’s not what happened," says Rajewski. "And when I’m trying to explain that to my cell provider and say, 'I didn’t do that,' they are going to say, 'Well, this company authorized it.'"

Scammers are covering their tracks, as well. When calling the scammers back we heard "your survey has expired" even though we were not given a survey.

To protect yourself from this scam, officials urge you to not answer calls that you don’t recognize even if you recognize the area code. If you do answer be mindful and ready to hang up immediately. You can also report the call to the Better Business Bureau or register the number on the Do Not Call Registry.

You should also check your cellphone bills and credit cards in case the scammers are adding additional charges as small as $1 to your bills.

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