Alexa is tremendously helpful for so many things.  If you need to know the score of last night’s basketball game, if you want to know what the weather will be today or even to turn down your thermostat.  And it is not just Alexa.  Siri or Google Home will do the same tasks for you.  However, there is one task that you should not trust Alexa and the other devices to perform.  You should never ask it to call a tech support or customer service number for you.

For years I have warned you about phony tech support scams  done by scammers who establish bogus tech support websites for your favorite tech companies, such as Facebook and Instagram.  By manipulating the algorithms used by Google and other search engines, the scammers manage to get their bogus websites into top positions in Google and other search engine searches.  These phony tech support websites are used to scam you out of money or personal information which they use to make you a victim of identity theft.  Scammers also use similar tactics to scam people looking for help with the repair of common household appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines.

People looking  through a search engine for a telephone number for customer service or a company’s warranty center are taken to one of the phony websites and when they call the telephone number found in the phony website they are told that they can set up an appointment for a repair person by merely providing their name and location.  Then they are often told that they need to pay a small fee which they can do by credit card or debit card for a speedy next-day expedited service call.  Unfortunately, this is all a scam.  No service person comes the next day, however, your credit card, or even worse, your debit card is used by the scammer.  But it isn’t just people who are taken to these phony search engine listings.  Alexa, Siri and Google Home are susceptible to being scammed by merely picking the top position in a search engine search and putting you in touch with a scammer.

TIPS

Don’t bother Alexa with looking up and calling tech support or customer service numbers.  The best place to look for a telephone number for tech support, customer service or warranty information is on the company’s official website, on your bill or in the warranty documents that came with your appliance or device.   Also, be careful when you call the real number for tech support or customer service. Clever scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists  purchase telephone numbers that are a single digit off of the legitimate phone numbers for many companies’ tech support or customer service numbers in order to take advantage of common consumer misdials.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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