'Are you there?' Don't answer, hang up


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, is warning of a new kind of telephone scam that is being reported to the committee’s Fraud Hotline.

Through this scam, the caller will ask a simple question such as “Are you there?” or “Can you hear me?” in hopes that the recipient of the call will say “Yes.” The scammer could record the affirmative answer and then use that recorded voice to authorize unwanted charges on items like utility bills, phone bills or even stolen credit cards.

Collins warns, “This potential scam is particularly deceiving, as it can happen quite quickly and without any acknowledgement that the victim has been scammed. If you receive a call from someone you don’t know asking a question such as ‘Can you hear me?’ you should respond by just hanging up the phone.”

In recent weeks, the committee’s Fraud Hotline has received an increasing number of reports from Mainers about this suspicious call. If you receive this call, hang up the phone and contact the committee’s Fraud Hotline.

The Aging Committee maintains a Fraud Hotline that is staffed by experienced fraud investigators. If you or someone you know have been the victim of fraud, or if you would like tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, contact 1-855-303-9470.

And, yes, I have received this this type of call already.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at kso48@aol.com, or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.