New scam using voice searching, BBB says

The Better Business Bureau is warning of a new scam involving voice searching.

Posted: Aug 22, 2019 12:25 PM
Updated: Aug 22, 2019 12:35 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With Alexa and Siri, more and more people are searching using their voice, but there are some dangers to it.

The Better Business Bureau is warning of a new scam involving voice searching.

What's happening is scammers are creating fake customer service numbers and bumping them to the top of search results, often by paying for ads.

When you do a voice search using Siri, Alexa, or another device, the algorithm may accidentally pick one of those scam numbers.

One recent victim told BBB.org/ScamTracker 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 pre-paid gift cards by insisting the airline was running a special promotion.

Tips to avoid this scam:

  • Be careful when searching for support phone numbers. 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 pre-paid debit card is like using cash. There is almost nothing you can do to get the money back.

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