Attorney Suzanne ShinnWe all have gotten the calls…..your phone rings and normally you wouldn’t answer an unknown number. But this call caught you off guard or maybe it was a number very similar to one you are familiar with. You answer with “Hello” or some other greeting and then an automated voice identifies a business or agency. After the brief intro, the recording will ask:

Can you hear me clearly?”

How would most of us answer? Of course, we would say “Yes” and that’s it! Your voice may have just been recorded by a scammer who could plan on using your affirmative answer to sign you up for a product or service that you do not know about until you receive a payment demand! Then upon refusal to pay, the scammer may produce your recorded “yes” in order to confirm your purchase agreement.

Advice from the Better Business Bureau:

  • Immediately disconnect or hang up on any kind of automated voice, robotic voice or unsolicited call. Most people that we counsel with generally no longer answer calls from unknown numbers. (I am of the personal opinion that caller ID might have been one of the best inventions of the 20th century!) Even so, we all have been caught off guard so the best thing to do when you hear that voice that doesn’t sound as if it could be real, hang up.
  • Avoid answering any questing with “yes”, “sure” or “OK”.
  • Hang up if you are asked to press a button to be placed on the “Do Not Call” registry. Government agencies will NEVER solicit for the “Do Not Call” registry.
  • Write the phone number down and report it to the BBB Scam Tracker and the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call List.

Interestingly, scammers and identity thieves know that college students are their best targets. Additionally robotic calls are far more than annoying, more often than not, they are a scam call. Bearing that in mind, the best advice is to not answer the phone if the number is not recognized. Let the caller leave a voice mail. But if you are caught off guard you could always take action like a friend of mine used to do before caller id was invented.

She would pick up the phone and not say anything. Then when the solicitor would ask, “Is this Ms. Smith? Or, This is ….. with ….., is this Ms. Smith?” Her only reply would be: “Pepper”. She would continually make the same reply of “pepper” over and over again until the caller would hang up. It’s actually quite funny now that so many years have passed but it may be a response we could “sprinkle” on those annoying, unsolicited calls.

If you are getting calls from creditors or debt collectors, we are here to help you. You may be able to take action without filing a bankruptcy. Our primary goal is to help you with any legal matter you may be facing. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Suzanne Carlson Shinn
Written by Suzanne Carlson Shinn

Suzanne Shinn is a shareholder of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama and Mississippi. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. She joined the Bond & Botes team in 1992 as its first associate attorney and has been helping clients navigate the bankruptcy process ever since. Read her full bio here.

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