Answering ‘Yes’ on Your Phone May Cost You
New telemarketer scams using automation and ‘conversational agents’ will find there way into millions of consumers wallets. Here’s how it works: your phone rings and after picking up and a brief pause, you hear, “Oh, hi there, I was having trouble with my headset. Can you here me?” You reply yes and suddenly, you are being asked a series of questions relating to your preferences, interest in vacation or the type of car you drive.
Welcome to the latest marketing advancements using natural-speech technology. This technology is advancing so quickly, in a few years, we will not be able to distinguish when speaking with a machine. Combine this with technical advances in human engineering specifically focussed on conversational dynamics and you have robocall conversations that sound like the real thing. And once you realize you are speaking with a computer, it may be too late.
In an article by LA Times reporter David Lazarus, answering ‘yes’ to a question as innocent as, “Can you hear me?” can capture your voice for eternity. Police deparements are warning that your response can now “be edited to make it seem that you’ve given permission for a purchase or some other transaction”.
The Better Business Bureau’s advice: If someone calls and asks can you hear me? Say nothing and simply hang up.