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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activation fee, Alexa, Amazon Echo, , Google Home, , , , virtual assistant,   

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices 

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices

    In the past, we’ve discussed a couple of scams that could affect new owners of such devices like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The first was using unofficial apps to help you get your device activated. The second was using your virtual assistant to look up phone numbers for you which could result in being connected to scammers posing as services you may not use that often. Now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting a new scam that could affect new owners of these devices and this scam could cost users money.

    This new scam kind of resembles the unofficial app scam. The difference with this scam is with fake phone numbers posing as technical support for many of these devices. If someone were to do a web search looking for a technical support number for one of these devices the number that appears may not be that of the company who made the device. Instead, it may belong to scammers who are going to try to get you to pay an ‘activation fee’ while posing as companies like Amazon and Google. This scam not only applies to devices like this but to many other services as well such as anti-virus and printer support just to name a few.

    If you have technical trouble setting up any kind of device or service it is always recommended that you go to the manufacturer’s or distributor’s website to locate the proper customer service number. Scammers will use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks to try to get their phony number listed first on search engines even above those of the legitimate manufacturer’s. Also beware of any technical support that tries to get you to pay for their service using gift cards, prepaid debit cars, or money transfers. That is guaranteed to be part of a scam as once the money is paid, it will be next to impossible to recover from a scam artist.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 21, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexa, , , , ,   

    Alexa, find me a scammer. 

    Alexa, find me a scammer.

    If you think about it, we’re living in an unparalleled age of convenience. Most of us are carrying smartphones in our pockets that are more powerful than most personal computers from 5 years ago. With these devices not only do we have access to unlimited information but we also have access to services that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. Not only do we have access to such things as ride-sharing and food delivery at our fingertips, in a lot of cases we don’t even need to use our fingers to activate any of these services. With many devices today you can pretty much get what you want with just the sound of your voice. Of course, where there is convenience there will be those who look to take advantage of you.

    If you use voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, you could be in danger of falling prey to a scammer. The danger comes from if you need a service that you don’t use on a regular basis such as a plumber, electrician, or mechanic. If you ask your voice assistant to look up a listing for such a business and then have it automatically call that number, it could be luring you into a scam. Scammers will use paid listings and other SEO tricks to get their scam listings to the top of search engines which the voice assistants rely on. This could lead to you paying for phony charges or having your personal information exploited.

    Unfortunately, there’s no real fix for avoiding this scam if you use one of these assistants. The only way to really keep yourself safe is to look up the phone numbers yourself and to make sure that your local business is actually a local business. According to reports, there are millions of phony businesses on Google Maps which also contributes to the number of scams. Then once you find a reputable business save that number to your contacts.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on December 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexa, , , , ,   

    Fake Alexa app invades Apple app store 

    Fake Alexa app invades Apple app store

    If you were one of the scores of people who received the Amazon Echo for Christmas, you may want to make sure it was set up correctly. When you first set up your Echo device you need to use a smartphone or tablet app that is directly from Amazon itself. If you used a third-party app that wasn’t from Amazon you may have divulged a little more information that you should have and not to Amazon.

    It was reported yesterday that an app called “Setup for Amazon Alexa” rushed to the top of the Apple App Store’s popular apps after Christmas. The problem with this app is that not only was it not from Amazon but the app asked for much more information that should be given to a random app from the App Store, but you had to give it permission to collect all sorts of data from your iPhone or iPad in order to get your Echo to ‘work’. Of course, the app didn’t actually activate an Echo and received many complaints from Apple users.

    This is unusual for Apple as they have a very stringent process for allowing apps into their App Store. The app has since been pulled from the store but more than likely the damage has already been done to iOS users who already installed the malicious app to their Apple devices. If you are setting up any kind of device in your home that requires a mobile app to activate the device, always use the app from the manufacturer. If you’re having trouble finding it in the app store, go to the manufacturer’s website and they should have a link to the app you need. Below is a video showing you the proper way to activate your Amazon Echo.

     
  • Geebo 12:04 pm on March 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexa, , ,   

    Will iPhone users divorce Siri in favor of Alexa? 

    Will iPhone users divorce Siri in favor of Alexa?

    Have you ever wanted to have the full capabilities of an Amazon Echo but couldn’t afford one since you spent all your money on having the latest and greatest iPhone? Well, fret no more as Amazon’s app on iOS now has full Echo capability.

    With its latest update, the iOS Amazon app now allows you to access the Echo functionality from your iPhone. Some are even saying that it’s a much better alternative to Apple’s built-in assistant Siri. While Siri has been around a lot long than the Echo, many Apple users still say that it’s buggy and glitchy to the point of being not very helpful.

    Also with the new Echo app, you don’t have to worry about jokers saying “Alexa, buy me a doll house” around your iPhone. With the Amazon app you actually have to press the microphone button within the app before Alexa will respond.

    While now, it’s only out for iOS devices, Amazon says that it should be available to Android devices shortly.

     
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