Voice assistants make our lives easier for the most part. Instead of having to get up to turn on the lights, we can simply ask them to do it for us. Similarly, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa allow you to call businesses via voice, with no need to input a phone number anywhere. There are risks associated with blindly calling unknown numbers, though. According to the Better Business Bureau, some scammers have apparently gamed Google and Amazon's phone number ranking systems. Unsuspecting users could end up talking to an imposter instead of the desired business.
The BBB reports that consumers reached out to it after almost falling for scammers who tried to charge them nonsense fees. One victim used some form of voice search to call an airline in the hope of changing her seat. A con artist then tried to make her pay $400 in pre-paid gift cards for the service, but luckily, she didn't fall for the trick. Another customer used Siri to contact support for his printer, only to find himself connected to a scammer.
Thus far, we haven't heard of any successful scams, but with Google Assistant and others becoming more ubiquitous every day, it's surely only a matter of time. The Better Business Bureau recommends looking up phone numbers on official websites for now instead of trusting assistants to call the correct company. Hopefully, Google, Amazon, and Apple can work out a system of trusted numbers or some other means for reliable verification.
- Better Business Bureau