The phone rings.  The number isn’t familiar, but the area code is, so you decide to answer the call.

You answer: “Hello?”

“Can you hear me?” the voice on the other end of the line asks, loud and clear.

Don’t answer, because if you do, you could be authorizing charges to your credit card or phone or utility bill.

The above scenario is a new scam that’s been making the rounds and starting to spread across the states.  According to complaints, the automated calls come from places like travel companies and home security firms.  The call is recorded so that your “Yes” is recorded as evidence that you authorized whatever charges they decide to stick to you.

Variations of the scam include questions like, “Are you the homeowner?” or “Do you pay the bills in the home?”

You may think you’re being rude, but if you don’t want to go through the legal process of fighting the charges or you don’t want to pay whatever charges you’re accidentally authorizing or, if you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, make sure you don’t respond with any words of affirmation.

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