New Telephone Scam: All it takes is saying "yes" to a seemingly innocent question


A seemingly innocent question is part of the latest phone scam that could cost you a lot of money.

The questions are straight-forward. It is your answer the scammers want to record.

“Scam artists are always prepared to turn whatever information they get into a quick profit,” said Angie Barnett, president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland.

It seems one simple word could make them money and cause you lots of trouble. It all starts with a phone call: “Hi, this is Josh from the customer service department. Can you hear me OK?”

“They are asking a pointed question to get you to say ‘yes.’ That is the point of the scam, to get you to say ‘yes,’” Barnett said.

And once you say “yes,” the answer is recorded.

“It’s very instinctive. If somebody calls and says, ‘Hi, is this Barry Simms?’ You’re going to say, ‘Yes.’ So it doesn’t take much for a scam artist to get that recorded ‘yes.’ How you know it’s a scam is they disconnect the call,” Barnett said.

And you can’t reach anyone when you call the number back.


Which is another reason never to answer unknown numbers.


Sometimes I just pick up the receiver, walk over to the tv speaker and give them an earful of whatever I am watching. Other times, I just listen as they repeat hello over and over. Then I hang up. :rolleyes:


If you have a land line, a representative from the Federal Trade Commission recommended a web site called It is free to sign up. When a robot calls you, your phone rings only once and the call is forwarded to a mail box in New York where it dies. It is not perfect, but I love seeing the “no information sent” screen for caller ID before it goes away.

The FTC has basically given up on its mandate to enforce the DoNotCall list because the technology used by telemarketers and scammers(not quite the same thing, but close;)) is way ahead of the government. Scammers use technology to send false caller ID’s to pretend to be a local call, when they may not even be in the same country.

Only real companies that violate the DoNotCall list ever get fined. Direct TV and Dish Network have been in a competition to hold the record for the biggest fine ever. Dish Network tried to get around the responsibility by using affiliates to call you claiming no responsibility for what they did. Last year a judge disagreed, so Dish Network is the current record holder.

I have been called repeatedly by a recorded message claiming to be “Credit Card Services”. They want you to believe they will lower the rate on your credit cards, but hang up if you ask for their physical address or return phone number. They also use a phony caller ID when they call. Apparently some people are foolish enough to give them a credit card number, because they never give up.


On those rare occasions when I find myself on the phone with a real, live telemarketer, I will usually set the receiver down on the table and just let them ramble on. There have been times when I’ve come back more than five minutes later and they are still talking. It must be terribly frustrating when they finally discover that they’ve spend several minutes talking to no one.

I use this service and it has literally saved what little sanity I have left. During the months leading up to the election my phone would “ring once” several times a day. It’s satisfying knowing that for each of those rings, an unwanted call went to Robo Call Limbo.


Side note on telemarketers: They have a terrible job from some things I’ve read and many of the places they work fire them if they hang up, even if the person on the other end of the line is screaming obscenities at them. In addition it appears their call quota keeps going up, forcing a losing race to keep up. So while I do recognize it’s annoying to get such calls, I don’t think most people realize some of the things they deal with too.


They are terribly annoying, but I’m at least happy they’re trying to make an honest living vs. going on welfare, which might be terribly tempting compared with a call center. I have more sympathy for these people after watching my husband go through the experience. I’m sure many of the callers despise it as much as the called.


This isn’t new, been around for at least 20 years. Long distance companies did it all the time. My office would get a call the person pretends to be from an insurance company and asks the secretary if this was our address. They record her yes and next month we would have a new long distance carrier. We had to train the staff to always say “yes, but I am not authorized to make changes to any accounts.” Took about a year for them to quit calling .


I personally think that it’s just better to use either a call-blocking service or a call-blocking phone, rather than try and just play some kind of game with the telemarketers when they call you–“You” meaning anyone who does this.

When you play games with them, you’re just alerting them and letting them know that they have a live and active phone number that they can keep calling.

When you use a call-blocker, it disrupts the phone call when they try and call you.

I use nomorobo, too. It’s a free service.

It works with VOIP (internet/computer) phone service, and it is not available in all areas. It is also not available for cell phone service, either.

You would have to see if it’s available in your particular area, for anyone that wants to sign up with it.


Recently the service was extended to iOS 10 phones.


Thanks for the updated info., William. :slight_smile:

I went over to the nomorobo website to see and it’s still free for VOIP phone service but if you want the service for your smart phone, it now costs $1.99 per month.


Can’t wait for Android.


Ah, yes, the infamous “Rachel from Credit Card Services”. My fun with them was to ask them if Rachel was still a virgin.

Now the new thing is for them to have a few second pause after saying “Hello?”. And now there’s that ditz “Emily” who giggles on the robocall.


The same thing can be said about working for the Mafia…


Lol. Well, rest-assured, my husband did not work for the mafia. He was willing to work the job he could find. We entered a tough market.


I have Caller ID. If there is a # calling that I don’t recognize, I don’t answer.


The federal No Call List is a sham and unconstitutional. The free market is able to address the problem, and frankly it’s hypocrisy on the part of a lot Americans who want small government to demand that DC police their phone.

I think the problem with some cable TV providers is that they were calling people too late at night.


It makes me so angry to think how many real jobs got sent overseas and people have to take these crummy pseudo jobs instead. My sympathies.


Same here.

If they think it’s important they can always leave voice mail.


A lot of these telemarketing jobs have also gone overseas.

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