BBB Briefs: Voice search scam warnings

BBB Briefs: August 19

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Monica Horton from the Better Business Bureau of North Central Texas joins us in studio today to discuss the possibility of accidentally getting scammed by using the multiple kinds of voice search in a lot of homes around the nation.

Do you use voice search? Ask Alexa to play for your favorite song? Question Siri about the weather? Tell your Google Assistant to turn down the air conditioner? Just don’t ask your smart devices to look up a phone number, because it may accidentally point you to a scam.

The Way the Scam Works is:

You need the phone number for a company, so you ask your home’s smart device to find and dial it for you. However when the company’s “representative” answers, the conversation takes a strange turn. This representative has some odd advice! They may insist on you paying by wire transfer or prepaid debit card. In other cases, they may demand remote access to your computer or point you to an unfamiliar website.

Turns out, that this “representative” isn’t from the company at all. Scammers create fake customer service numbers and bump them to the top of search results, often by paying for ads. When the device does a voice search, the algorithm may accidentally pick a scam number.

Some Tips to Avoid This Scam are:

- 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 found elsewhere like on a bill.

- Beware of fake ads. Scammers make ads with fake customer service numbers.

- Make payments with your credit card. It’s easier to dispute a credit card payment.

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