The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and law enforcement officials are warning the public of a new phone scam where the caller asks, “Can you hear me?”

MIAMI - We all remember the old Verizon Wireless commercials where the actor asks, “Can you hear me, now?”

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and law enforcement officials are warning the public of a new phone scam where the caller asks, “Can you hear me?”

According to the BBB, the “Can you hear me?” scam is a new twist on an old scam that was originally used on businesses but is now targeting individual consumers, as well.

“This was an old scam that was affecting business owners,” said Amie Mitchell, President/CEO of BBB of Tulsa. “They would get anyone calling to say, 'Hey, can you place an ad or buy these office supplies?' and would go into the pitch and ask, 'Can you hear me?'

“Of course, the business owner would say yes,” she added. “Even if they didn't agree to the office supplies or the placement of an ad, all of a sudden they got an invoice. They would call back and say I didn't want to buy this and the caller would play back that little segment of them saying, 'Yes.'”

According to Mitchell, scammers who use your 'yes' voice recording to authorize charges is called “cramming” and it's illegal.

“Cramming is where they take a segment of the phone call, splice it and put it in wherever they want, so it makes it sound like you actually agreed to the service,” Mitchell said. “In this particular case for the consumers, the caller will talk about vacation packages, Disney trips, cruises, big ticket items, televisions and things like that.

“You can still fight it and it is illegal, but tracking it down is going to be the hard part,” she added.

As of Thursday, Mitchell said the BBB has not had any reported victims who have been at loss of any money from the scam. It is still unclear how the scams will unfold over time or if the victim will be targeted at a later date.

“The thing is, we don't know what the next step is in the scam, so that's kind of what we're waiting on,” Mitchell said. “We're hoping it's not too bad and the credit card companies will work with them if they do have an issue, but we're not exactly sure how far this will go.”

The scammers can ask the caller other yes or no questions, not just “Can you hear me?” The number can be blocked, unknown or even have the same area code because the number can come from a computer generated call system.

“We even had one that was reported today and instead of saying 'Can you hear me?' they asked 'Did you vote,’”' Mitchell said. “Any kind of answer where you reply yes: Are you registered to vote? Are you a homeowner? Once they get that yes, they have your information.”

Ken Murphy, Police Chief of the Wyandotte Nation Tribal/Municipal Police Department (WNTPD), said to never give out any personal information. He heard about the ‘Can you hear me?’ scam from the news and shared the story on the police department’s Facebook Page to warn followers.

Murphy said the department has not yet received any calls on this new scam but warned individuals to stay cautious.

“Common warning signs of scams are if they ask for personal information and they may even imply that they're from your credit card company and have your information and just need to verify it, then they want you to give it to them,” Murphy said. “I would recommend not giving anyone any kind of personal information over the phone.

"I've even gotten to the point, now, where I don't say yes," he added. "If they start out, 'Are you the decision maker of the household?' I say 'It depends. What do you want?' If they want a recording of me saying yes, then I'll do what I need to avoid that until I determine who it is.”

Even if your number is on the ‘Do not call list,’ scammers will still call. They can even call from other existing numbers.

“The national 'do not call list' is really not being closely observed and I think the agencies that are supposed to enforce that are so inundated with scams and things that it's very difficult to follow up on,” Murphy said. “I was getting calls once a week or more than that from this place saying they were representing Southwest Airlines. I always question them and try to get their names, where they're at and phone numbers.”

Mitchell also has advice for individuals who are targeted by scammers.

“We're recommending don't answer the phone if you don't recognize the number,” Mitchell said. “They'll leave a voicemail if they really needed something from you and it's legitimate. If you get someone after you pick up the phone and they immediately say, 'Can you hear me?' or immediately ask you a question, hang up the phone. Don't answer any questions.”

Individuals can make note of the number and report scams to the BBB Scam Tracker at (www.bbb.org/scamtracker) to help warn other potential victims. The tracker displays a U.S. map with all of the reported scams in the area.

“Right now, we're seeing 75 percent of everything that's being reported nationwide is about this particular scam,” Mitchell said. “It's just like when we had the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam. We're getting phone calls flooded with people saying they're the IRS and this is your last chance. This particular scam, we're getting inquiries every single day.”

“It's not always a lost cause,” Murphy said. “If people took the time to get as much information as they can without divulging anything, and then got online and do the electronic report. There are cases where these places are identified and are put out of business.”

Mitchell said the Bureaus collects the information from Scam Tracker and supplies it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement.

“We assisted law enforcement in shutting down an IRS scam call center in India, and after that, we saw our reports drop to basically none,” Mitchell said. “It's really important that they report this to Scam Tracker because the more information we gather, the better we can help shut them down.”

If an individual feels like they have fallen victim of a scam or answers yes, Mitchell suggested monitoring bank accounts, bank statements, emails, incoming mail and credit reports. It is also a good idea to check telephone and cell phone bills, as well.

To prevent credit card fraud or identity theft, one can request a free copy of their credit report from three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – throughout the year, at AnnualCreditReport.com. It is suggested to split up the reports and do one every four months. If an error is spotted, request a dispute form from the agency within 30 days of receiving the report.

Mitchell and Murphy said if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is and do not trust it. Never give out any personal information- not even your name, your maiden name or your dog’s name.

“That's always been our motto,” Mitchell said. “If it's too good to be true, it probably is.”

For IRS scams, the IRS would never contact the individual over the phone. The revenue service will only contact you by certified mail. If you are leery of any mail parcel or phone call, contact your local law enforcement.