Scam alert: Avoid asking Google Assistant for a customer support number

This post was originally published on this site

  • A support number scam takes advantage of people using virtual assistants to find and dial customer support lines.
  • The number the assistant calls is actually false and instead puts the victim in touch with a scammer.
  • The best way to avoid this scam is to manually search for and dial customer support numbers.

Using Google Assistant on your smartphone or smart speaker can make your life so much easier. However, there’s a support number scam that’s seen making its way around the internet recently that uses our dependence on Google Assistant to put us in a scammer’s sights.

The Better Business Bureau published a warning blog post about two individual cases of people getting trapped by this support number scam. There are likely many more cases out there, though.

The scam starts with a person asking Google Assistant (or Alexa, or Siri, or any other virtual assistant) to find and dial a customer support number for a company. The assistant performs a search and then dials a number and places the person on a call with a “customer support representative.”

However, that support rep is actually a scammer who can now try to trick the victim into forking over some cash.

The best way to avoid this scam is to manually search for and dial customer support numbers.

One of the people the Better Business Bureau used as an example of this scam asked a virtual assistant to call the support line of a major airline. She simply wanted to change her seat on her upcoming flight, but the person on the phone tried to convince her to buy $400 in prepaid gift cards, insisting that the airline was running a special promotion of some kind.

How do the scammers trick the assistants? It’s actually really simple: scammers work to get a false support number to the top of Google Search results (usually through paying for ads). When a virtual assistant searches for a specific support number, it grabs that false result and places the call. If the request to call the number is placed through a smart speaker such as a Google Home, the victim doesn’t even have any idea which number has been dialed and simply assumes the person on the other end of the call is a trustworthy employee of the company in question.

The best way to avoid this support number scam is to manually search for and dial customer support numbers. Stay safe out there!

More posts about Google Assistant

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply