COLUMBUS — In the past week several Ohioans have reported suspicious calls from callers asking “Can you hear me?” according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Similar calls have been reported throughout the country as part of an alleged scam to trick consumers into responding “Yes” and using their response to place unauthorized charges on their phone or utility bill.
“Any time people receive a call that’s suspicious, we encourage them to be very careful and not to respond to the call,” DeWine said. “When in doubt, just hang up. If you need help or if you suspect a scam, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.”
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 consumers said the callers claimed the consumer had won a vacation or cruise or claimed to work for an extended warranty company.
Tips to avoid potential phone scams include:
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 an automated telemarketing call (or “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.
Consumers who suspect a scam or who want help resolving a consumer problem should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.