Scammers Reportedly Preying on Those Who Use Virtual Assistants to Call Businesses

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers who use assistants like Siri and Alexa to call businesses.

Some office multi task guy

Image via Getty/Georgijevic

Some office multi task guy

If you're using Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, or some other virtual subordinate to call a business for you, then you may be opening yourself up to scammers adapting to an ever-dependent-on-technology-world, at least according to a warning from the Better Business Bureau.

As the BBB describes it, the con could play out if you refer to your home's smart device to call up a business for you. They say that grifters have created fake customer service numbers that they then bump to the top of search results, usually by putting down money for better ad space.

Algorithms for the aforementioned A.I. assistants can then accidentally choose those scam numbers. If that's the case you may end up on the line with a fake rep that asks you to pay via wire transfer, or with a prepaid debit card. Furthermore, those on the other end could ask you for remote access to your computer, or direct you to an unfamiliar website.

As for non-hypothetical examples, a victim of the scam told the BBB that she used voice search to contact a major airline's customer service department to switch seats on an upcoming flight. Instead of getting sent to the line she wanted, she was sent to a faker who fooled her into plopping down $400 for pre-paid gift cards after she was told the airline was running a special promotion.

Another report came from a man who used Siri to reach the support line for his printer. Instead he was roped into a tech support scam.

In order to not fall prey to the scam, it's recommended that you exercise caution when searching for support numbers. The BBB says to double-check any website URLs or just find the info on a bill/confirmation email. Additionally, you could also just go the old-fashioned way and dial the numbers yourself.

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