Another phone scam warning to 'say nothing and hang up'

Publish Date
Friday, 28 April 2017, 11:40AM
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Phone scams are still an increasing problem all over the world, and the most recent one is using your voice to authorise withdrawals from your bank accounts. While it's better to ignore calls from unknown numbers, especially those with a foreign area code, sometimes it's not that simple - after all, you don't want to miss any important calls. 

The most recent phone scam to hit New Zealand uses a seemingly innocent premise. So if you receive a suspicious call and hear any of the following questions, hang up immediately.

  • Can you hear me?
  • Are you the lady of the house?
  • Do you pay the household phone bill?
  • Do you pay the household bills?
  • Are you the homeowner?

Scammers using this method known as 'cramming' and record the phone call using your answer 'yes' to later commit fraud. This means using the consumer's recorded answer to authorise credit card charges. 

So how do you know if you're answering a regular call, or are the victim of a scam? Here are some tips to keep you safe;

  1. Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Let them go to voicemail.
  2. If you answer and the caller (often a recording) asks you to hit a button to stop receiving calls, just hang up. Scammers often use these tricks to identify, and then target, live respondents.
  3. If you receive a scam call, write down the number and file a complaint with the police.
  4. Ask your phone service provider if it offers a robocall blocking service. If not, encourage your provider to offer one.