Using voice search? Use caution when auto-dialing customer support.
Tell Alexa to play your favorite song. Ask Siri about the weather. Use Google Assistant to turn down the air conditioner. But don’t ask your smart device to look up a phone number because it could accidentally point you to a scam.
How this scam works-
You need the phone number for a company, so you ask your home’s smart device, which might be Google Home, Siri, or Alexa, to find and dial it for you. But when the company’s “representative” answers, you notice some red flags. This representative may insist they can only help if you pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit card. Other times, they demand remote access to your computer or point you to a scam website.
In all versions of this scam, the “representative” isn’t from the company for which you searched. Instead, scammers created a fake customer service number and bumped it to the top of the search results. These bad actors hope that when consumers do a voice search using Siri, Alexa, or another device, the algorithm will accidentally pick their scam number, and an unsuspecting victim will contact them directly.
How to avoid similar scams:
- Be careful when searching for support phone numbers. Rather than doing an online search or letting your smart device look up a number, use the contact information on the business’s website (always double check the URL) on your bill, receipt, or in your confirmation email.
- Beware of fake ads. Scammers create bad ads with fake customer service numbers. Using voice search to find a number can make it harder to tell a phony listing from a real one. Get your information from the official company website or official correspondence.
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