If you hear the words "can you hear me?" when answering a call from a number you don't recognise, the advice is to hang up.
The warning comes in light of a new simple but effective phone scam which is set to cross the pond from the US to the UK, and could end up costing the unwitting bill payer thousands of pounds.
Police and call-blocking companies are urging people to remain vigilant when picking up calls from an unfamiliar number, in an effort to prevent people falling victim to the scam
The simple and common phrase used by callers has now been associated with swindling people out of their hard-earned money.
It works by using a voice signature to try and charge you for goods or services that you have never used before.
The scam has spiralled in the US and experts believe it will hit the UK very soon.
So how does the scam work?
- A local number will ring you.
- The person on the phone will introduce themselves and the company they supposedly work for.
- They then ask: "Can you hear me?"
- If you say "yes", your response is recorded and then edited to use to charge you for products or services without your knowledge.
Any attempt to disagree with them will see the play back of the recording with your "yes" answer used and you will be threatened by legal action if you do not pay up.
CPR Call Blocker, which prevents nuisance callers, has reported a rise in the scam recently and strongly advises it is only a matter of time before people in the UK become targets.
Another version of the scam uses the voice recording to authorise a stolen credit card.
Kris Hicks, from CPR Call Blocker, told the Sunderland Echo : "In our experience of working across the US and UK, scams spread quickly across the pond."
He adds that Brits must be wary "as we have no doubt that fraudsters operating in the UK will soon start using these tactics."
Hang up or do not pick up at all, is the advice.
Those who think they have been caught out by the scam should contact their bank or card provider immediately.
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