BBB

Instead of “Just Google it”, we’ve started saying, “Just ask Siri”, “Hey, Alexa”, or “OK, Google…”. While having personal digital assistants right at our fingertips lightens the load, for many consumers it could potentially lead to a scam.

BBB has issued a warning to practice caution when asking voice assistant-enabled smart devices to find and call phone numbers for companies. How this scam works is when you ask your smart device to look up and dial a phone number for you, someone claiming to be a representative will pick up. However, the devices may actually dial numbers that scammers have created.

This happens when scammers create fake customer service numbers and bump these false numbers to the top of search results, often by paying for ads. When your smart device does a voice search, the algorithm may accidentally pick a scam number. As a result, you may be connected to fake customer service representatives who try to solicit payments by wire transfer or prepaid debit cards.

Your BBB offers these tips below to avoid falling for one of these scams:

  • Be careful when searching for phone numbers. Rather than doing an online search or letting your smart device look up the number, check on your bill or confirmation email for a phone number or go to the business’s website.
  • Beware of fake ads. Scammers make ads with fake customer service numbers.
  • Using voice search to find a number can make it harder to tell a phony listing from the real one. Get your information from the official company website or official correspondence.
  • Make payments with your credit card. It’s easier to dispute a credit card payment.
  • Paying by wire transfer or prepaid debit card is like using cash; there is almost nothing you can do to get your money back.
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