What you need to know

  • Scam artists are creating fake support numbers for companies and buying their way to the top of search results to trick you and your digital assistant.
  • Always look up important numbers by going to the company's website.
  • Never pay with prepaid gift cards or wire transfers — use a credit card instead.

If you're anything like me, you've become completely spoiled by digital assistants. Whether you choose to use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, it makes no difference. This trio of voice-activated assistants has changed how we live our daily lives. We are constantly using them every day to accomplish tasks such as turning on the light, checking the weather, setting timers or alarms, and even to make calls.

However, you might want to rethink that last one. That's because the Better Business Bureau has recently warned that your call may be forwarded to a scam artist instead of an actual company.

It all begins when you ask your digital assistant to call a company for you. It then goes out to search the web and find the number of the company you requested.

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The problem, however, is that scammers have been creating fake customer service numbers and finding a way to move their number to the top of the list. Often, this can be done quite easily by just paying for some ads.

Once the scammer has you on the phone, you are at their mercy. Some signs to look out for include asking you to pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit cards. They could even try to convince you to give remote access to your computer, or send you to an unfamiliar website in an attempt to infect you with malware.

In cases reported to the BBB, one victim was trying to change her seat for an upcoming flight. Instead, the scammer tried to convince her to pay $400 with prepaid gift cards, claiming the airline was running a special promotion.

In another case, a scammer tried to direct a consumer to a phony website to infect his computer when he used Siri to call the support number for his printer.

Some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of this scam are to avoid using your digital assistant when making important phone calls to companies. Also, look up the phone number for the company you want to contact from its official website. This will help you avoid fake ads that could show up in search results. Finally, make payments with your credit card (as it is easier to dispute charges) and never pay with a wire transfer or prepaid gift cards.

Smart home

Echo Dot

Small and mighty

The Echo Dot is the perfect way to start or add onto your smart home. It may be tiny but it has a powerful speaker and access hundreds of thousands of skills from Alexa. Whether you want to set a timer, ask for the weather, play music, control your smart home, or more this tiny smart speaker can help you.

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