I was on the receiving end of a scam call today. That’s certainly nothing new. The difference was that this is the very first time I’d heard this scam and I didn’t know if you guys had been warned yet.
I happen to have an Amazon Echo smart speaker. These speakers come with a virtual assistant called Alexa who can take voice commands and do things like play music, read books, check the temperature, get you the news, give directions, answer questions (How many teaspoons in a cup? Give me a recipe for Russian dressing.) Another great feature of Alexa is your ability to order stuff from Amazon.
This scam hopes to ensnare people by making them think they’ve accidentally placed an order or perhaps a thief has ordered something using their Amazon account.
Here’s how it works:
I received a phone call where the recorded voice on the other end said, “This is Alexa, calling to confirm your order of 129 GBP.” (That’s British pounds, kind of a mistake for calling someone in the US or maybe they wanted me to think a scammer in the UK was using my account.) I was told to “push one to confirm my purchase” and “two to dispute the purchase.”
This call is a complete scam. Amazon does not use the Alexa voice to make calls. I have ordered items using Alexa. You confirm those purchases with an app on your phone.
I didn’t press any of the numbers because I had an appointment to get to but I can almost guarantee you that canceling the alleged purchase probably involves giving them your credit card number so they can refund the phony purchase back to you.
Yes, you can make purchases with an Echo speaker but only if you set up the Alexa app with your Amazon account and only with very specific instructions to buy.
This is very similar to a phishing email that claims you’ve made some type of purchase. They are counting on you getting panicked and giving them all the information they need to know before you take the time to think about whether it really makes sense or not.
Don’t fall for it.