(Image: James Lake)
Aussies are being warned to be extra careful next time they answer a phone call from a private or unknown number.
A new scam doing the rounds has the person on the other end asking "Can you hear me?". It works by the scammer then recording you saying “yes”, which is edited to make it sound like you authorised a major purchase over the phone.
Saying "Yes" is effectively making a verbal contract, just like clicking "I agree" on a computer or signing your signature on a document
Voice signatures are already used by legitimate companies to confirm to agreements over the phone, so cunning scammers are taking easy advantage.
This scam has also appeared in the Unites States, where criminals have pretend to be from a holiday or home security company, then later bill you for products or services you never asked for. If you try to deny the charges, the scammers will play back your verbal confirmation and threaten to take legal action.
Thankfully there are a couple of ways to protect yourself. Firstly just be mindful when answering those calls from unknown or blocked numbers. Secondly there's a heap of new call blocking apps available for download which detect and block dodgy calls, and also let you permanently block suspect numbers from calling back.