Phone Scams On The Rise: What to Avoid

Phone Scam

Almost everybody has a mobile phone these day.  Of course, the scammers see this as prime real estate for executing their dastardly deeds. It is no wonder the incidence of phone scams are on the increase.

According to Money Tips: “2015, approximately 27 million Americans (11% of the adult population) were victimized by phone fraud, compared to only 7% in a similar 2014 survey. Total 2015 losses to phone scams was $7.4 billion, or an average loss of nearly $274 per victim. Scams are trending in three alliterative aspects: mobile devices, men, and millennials”.

Telephone scams are the hottest thing the fraudsters and manipulators are taking advantage of.   By now, everyone has heard of the Nigerian Prince scam that circulates the internet via email.  At least I hope everyone knows about this….


Phone Scams


Scammers have come up with many clever ways to part us from our money.  They combine their technical skills with what has to be an adept observance of human behaviour.  This combination, unfortunately, is an efficient weapon for the scammers arsenal.  As much as I detest scammers, you have to hand it to them, they are quite ingenious.

Each time a scam is revealed, the fraudsters come up with a new ways to get you to give them your money.

 The Phone Scams.

Can You Hear Me?

I choose this ruse first because it seems like the one that would be easiest to get caught on, even if you are diligent about your phone and computer use.

This one is not showing any signs of slowing down.

 Here’s how it works:

Someone impersonating a representative from an organization that the consumer uses, and is most likely familiar with, contacts them.  This might be a utility company, a mortgage lender, or a credit card company, for example.

At some point in the conversation they will ask: “Can you hear me?”  The caller records the victim saying “yes” which they can now use as a voice signature.  This voice signature can be used to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.



Authorities advise consumers to hang up immediately if they are asked that question, at any point of the conversation.

The criminal counts on people either not knowing about this scam, and or the inherent need for people to be polite and not offend.  Thus, they answer “yes” and the victimization continues.

This one scares me, because even if you are aware of the scam, it can be easy to slip, and answer before you have had time to think it through.

Caller ID Scam

Sometimes it is your smartphone that has been fooled.

Scammers have figured out ways to mask a phone number.  You get a callPolice from the local police.  They say they are investigating a crime and need to verify your contact information.  You have your doubts, so you do a reverse look up of the telephone number on google, and sure enough, it IS the police.  You go ahead and give out your information. Later you find out it was a fake number, and they have your information.

This one works because most people do not want to deal with any intimidating service agencies.


SmishingEver wonder how these words become a part of our lexicon? Yet another action that required the creation of a new name.

Smishing is short for SMS phishing.  This a texting scam.  It looks so legitimate, it’s no wonder that people fall for it.

A phoney number is hidden behind what appears to be the number of a trusted source, typically a bank.

The text will inform you that “Your debit card has been used to make a purchase, and if you do not recognize the transaction, you need to call the fraud prevention hotline”, with the number provided.  If you call this number, the scammer is ready to gather your sensitive banking information, and asks you to confirm it.  The scammer can now access your account with ease.


In this one, people receive calls from criminals claiming to be from Apple Support.  The automated voice tells the victim that their iCloud account has been hacked.  They then redirect you to a live person who will be able to help you.


The “Support” person will get your personal information and credentials allowing them to now log into Apple accounts.  In addition, sometimes the victim is asked to pay a fee to solve virus issues.  Instead of anti-virus software, they are given malware.







Disconnect immediately and do not call or text anyone.  If the issue is legitimate, the correct individuals will contact you in the appropriate ways.

If you have concerns about your various accounts, get out a copy of your bill and use their appropriate number.


Society has created an environment where these scammers, who demonstrate a modicum of intelligence, are free to proliferate.

They are allowed to direct their energy and intelligence towards illegal phone fraud, instead of channeling efforts into the conventional job route.  The “job” route must not have been rewarding enough, or in the right way, for them to continue.

Scammers must receive enough financial benefit from these ventures.  I happen to believe that there is an additional motivation.  It is my opinion that they get an adrenalin type of rush, each time they dupe someone.  I believe it is like any addiction, there is the initial rush, then the desire for more.  Someone should do a study on this…

Be Careful When Answering Your Phone!


These people are savvy manipulators, who take advantage of the emotions of vulnerable people.

This is why these stupid scams will continue to work.


These scammers are trying to take a short cut to obtain money.  There is no way to condone this behaviour.

Today, it is quite common to need more money than the average pay cheque is providing.

One way to solve this, is to try to make extra money online.  That is what I did.  I started researching ways to make a little extra money online, that would be used to supplement my retirement.

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I had a rough outline of what I was looking for.  I knew I wanted to stay away from MLMs.  At the same time, I did want to find something that would create a residual income.  The way I saw this was to find something that had upfront work that could be turned into a recurring income, that took a minimal amount of time to manage.  It was also important that this work be “location independent”.  I did not want to be tied to an office or geographical area.

It took a great deal of time, and several bad choices, but I finally found a program that meets all my needs.

I started working on Wealthy Affiliate University.  I am learning to be an affiliate marketer.

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At Wealthy Affiliate, they know what horrible opportunities, and yes, SCAMS are out there on the internet.

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I was able to work at my own pace, and before I knew it, I had set up a website, all on my own!  Being technically challenged, this is something I never thought I would be doing, both online and in the community.

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If you have any comments or questions, I welcome them below.


Judith Laverty






10 thoughts on “Phone Scams On The Rise: What to Avoid”

  1. Judith, scammers are very ingenious and clever. But those scammed, for the majority, seem to be at the more gullible end of intelligence.

    I hadn’t heard of the ‘can you hear me’ scam. But we haven’t so far had any of these. We do on the other hand only allow a few seconds for someone, on the other end of the phone, to start speaking. If not it is hang up time. So thanks for this and I will certainly keep it in mind.

    Reputable organisations, such as banks, utilities and the like never approach people in this manner and this fact should immediately let people know this isn’t legit. This holds true for other scams not just the ‘can you hear me’ one.

    Now the police will never call you. If they want to talk to you they will come and visit you. And if the police intimidate you – what are you hiding!

    Even if a group does get in touch with something, like you have won a prize, never give out facts. There are ways to investigate these to make sure they are for real.

    If your bank account is blocked you will find this out yourself. Phone the bank and speak directly to them. Don’t do anything else. Ditto with other smishing and phishing scams. Never give out information. If you have subscribed to any organisation where account information was needed they will already have your information. So there is no need to give this out again.

    You have written a timely article. Scams are really on the increase. I have no sympathy for the stupid ones who fall for them but I am really concerned about vulnerable people who get caught. Many of our older residents out on their own are very unknowledgeable due to circumstances.

    Keep up the good post.


  2. These phone scammers are despicable.

    Toward the end of my father’s life, as he began to suffer from the early stages of Alzheimer’s, one particular group of scammers very nearly managed to get all of his financial information from him. Fortunately, my brother was there and managed to grab the phone and tell them where to go.

    Sadly, they now knew that my father was vulnerable and what followed was a constant bombardment of phones calls from them and other scammers who could smell the blood in the water.

    I have received a number of fraudulent calls myself and have always managed to disengage from them quite easily, but I have to admit that the “Can You Hear Me?” scam could prove to be my undoing. We respond to yes/ no questions quickly and without thinking.

    Thanks for the warning. We all need to be a little more careful.

    1. Thank you for the comment. It is unfortunate, what happened to your father. This is exactly the thing that the scammers target. I worry about this also, as the scammers create situations that are believable, and unless your are alerted, it can be easy to become their prey.

  3. This is a fantastic article to give people the low down on phone scams. It is the same here in the UK where you are hearing more and more about them. This article will give people more insight about them to help them with the issue. It is one of those things that you hope never happens to you, but so easily can. It has happened to me as well and it not a nice experience to be in. Thanks for the article.

  4. Judith,
    Great article with great information here.
    I have experienced almost every example you have provided here and it becomes infuriating at times. The sad thing is that if you have money there is always someone standing there that wants to take it from you. The effects of these scams can be catastrophic to people that may become a victim to them. I have heard of people losing their life savings to these types of scams and it is truly heart breaking. By far one of the best ways to combat these scams is by education which you have done here. Great job and thank you for sharing.

  5. It’s too bad that the world is filled with people spending their time doing this. I’ve gotten to the point where I never answer any number I don’t recognize, but I get a lot of random calls. Thanks for the tips of things to watch out for!

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