The era of fake news has been with us for quite a while and it includes reports of scams that never have occurred.  Presently a number of sources including the Better Business Bureau and others are reporting about a scam that is often referred to as the “Can you hear me” phone scam.

The purported scam involves an automated call that asks “Can you hear me” and when the person receiving the call indicates “yes,” the response is recorded and used to authorize unwanted charges on your phone bill through cramming or other accounts.

Many people have received these unwanted calls, however, no one has yet reported actually being victimized by this scam.  Verified reports have only been of receiving such a call.

Even paranoids have enemies, but this scam does appear to be somewhat overstated.  It seems to be similar to the commonly reported scam about people getting out of their cars to retrieve a $100 bill left on their windshield only to have their car hijacked when they attempt to do so. This scam was described in the media although it never actually happened.


While this “Can you hear me” scam appears to be not true, in theory, it does provide a lesson in caution when responding to unsolicited phone calls.  You may wish to avoid such telemarketing calls altogether by enrolling in the Do-Not-Call List which you can do by going to

If you receive a telemarketing call after enrolling in the Do-Not-Call list, you can be sure that it is a scam.

You also may wish to avoid robocalls by enrolling in nomorobo, which cuts off robocalls after one ring.  You can enroll at

Finally, if you do answer a telemarketer, never respond with an affirmative declaration, such as “yes” to any automated call or telemarketer.