Officials are warning people to think twice before asking Alexa, giving a command to Siri or using auto-dial systems as a new smart device scam has been making the rounds nationwide.
Scammers nationwide have put millions at risk by creating fake customer service numbers and using tech to bump them to the top of search results, sometimes by paying for ads. Then when one uses an auto-dial system, they wind up speaking with fraudsters, not an actual company that can assist them.
Once on the line, the scammers will push for gift card deals or attempt to get credit card information.
According to the Better Business Bureau, one victim said that she used voice search to find and call customer service for a major airline. She wanted to change her seat on an upcoming flight, but the scammer tried to trick her into paying $400 in prepaid gift cards by insisting the airline was running a special promotion. Another victim found himself in a tech support scam.
To avoid becoming the victim of a scam, officials said one should:
- 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 (double-check the URL), on your bill, or in your confirmation email.
- 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 the money back.
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