“Can you hear me?”
That question might be the tip-off to a scam that has Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issuing a statewide warning.
Suspicious callers asking the question have been reported throughout the country as part of an alleged scam to trick consumers into saying yes — and using that response to place unauthorized charges on phone and utility bills.
“When in doubt, just hang up,” DeWine said.
In reports to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, consumers generally say the calls appeared to come from a local phone number, such as a number showing a 614 (Columbus) or 330 (Akron) area code. Some said the callers claimed the consumer had won a vacation or cruise or claimed to work for an extended warranty company.
Don’t respond to suspicious calls. Let the calls go to voicemail, or hang up if a call seems questionable in any way, especially if it’s a robocall, which is used commonly in scams.
Don’t always trust caller ID. Even when calls appear to come from an Ohio phone number, the numbers could be spoofed or the calls could be made over the Internet, meaning the caller could be located somewhere else entirely.
Check your phone bill and your credit card statements regularly. If you find suspicious charges, immediately report them to your provider.
If you suspect a scam or want help resolving a problem, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.ohioprotects.org or 800-282-0515.