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

    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.

     
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