Over the holidays many people received digital assistants such as Google Home or Alexa as well as other devices that are part of the ever-increasing Internet of Things which are devices connected to the Internet for our convenience.  These devices must be activated in order to be used and that is where the scam comes in.  In many instances, people attempting to call the company for assistance in activating the device end up calling fake tech support or customer service numbers that have been set up by scammers who manage to manipulate the algorithms used by Google and other searches to have their phone number or phony website appear in the first position in a search.  If you call the number provided or go to the counterfeit website, you will be lured into paying a charge of anywhere from $80 to $100 to activate your new device, but actually all that you have achieved is making a payment to a scammer and providing the scammer with your credit card number.  Clever scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists are increasingly setting up phony websites that appear to be for customer service or tech support of many of the companies with which we do business or purchasing telephone numbers that are a single digit off of the legitimate phone numbers for many companies’ tech support or customer support in order to take advantage of common consumer misdials.

TIPS
The best place to look for a telephone number for customer support or tech support is on the instruction booklet that may come with your device or the legitimate website for the company.  When calling, take extra care to make sure that you are dialing correctly so you don’t end up talking to a scammer.

It is also important to remember that no company that provides Internet of Things devices charges anything to activate your device.

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