Siri Dials Fake Delta Air Lines Call Center, Costs Passenger $125

I don’t use Siri. I don’t say “Ok, Google.” And I don’t like Amazon’s Alexa listening to all of my conversations. I just haven’t found value out of virtual assistants, which may make me a luddite.

However I’ve had my priors reinforced by this story of Siri calling the wrong phone number when a passenger tried to reach Delta. And it wasn’t just a wrong number, it was a scam number for someone impersonating Delta. They trusted it because they trusted Siri – and it cost them a fee.

A [Delta passenger] had trouble with [online check-in] so she commanded Siri, “Call Delta customer service.” Siri then dialed a call center which eventually led to..an “agent” who informed her that her name in the reservation didn’t match the name on record. She has previously traveled with a maiden name so this seemed plausible. To fix it quickly she’d have to pay $125. She fell for it and gave her AMEX number.

When she checked again online to confirm her name was “correct,” she saw no change in the name so she called D[elta] without using Siri and thus with the correct phone number. After a hour on hold she got a true D[elta] agent who said the reservation was fine, there was no issue with her name and didn’t know why [online check-in] didn’t work.

When she tried calling the fake..call center back to attempt to get the charged reversed she discovered her phone number was blocked. She checked in at the airport at a kiosk with no issues.

At a minimum this is a good reminder to always verify the phone number you’re dialing. Though I suppose the customer should have been tipped off when they got right through on the phone to Delta. Let’s be careful out there.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. At lease AMEX will reverse the charge… it so upsetting that our government won’t do anything to combat this…

  2. The bad guys are a lot smarter than the good guys; we all are responsible for ourselves. All these personal assistants are nothing but a new toy to amuse people. Who in their right mind would want to ‘tell a machine’ to call a number? Look up the number and dial it with your fingers … this is not rocket science. Don’t people remember when GPS first became popular? Lines of cars were driving off cliffs because their GPS instructed them to do so. People are still being led astray by a GPS because they don’t even look at a map before departing. The little boxes in our homes are just too creepy, only a fool would think they’re a good idea.

  3. They got double scammed. 1st they gat scammed by the scammers, 2nd they got scammed by Delta.

  4. @MikeL: NO, it isn’t upsetting our government won’t do anything to combat this. I agree with the huey judy’s comment: we are all responsible for ourselves.

    @ Gary: No you are not a luddite. You are a person with common sense, which isn’t that common anymore. Alan was being nice commenting they got double scammed. I’d flat out laughed in her face and called her a dumb-ass.

  5. The government is too busy worrying about which of the 72 (updated weekly on Wednesdays) genders a McDonald’s cheeseburger chooses to identify itself as instead of fixing actual problems like this one.

  6. Rule of thumb – never use a service that claims that they aren’t liable for mistakes. I have no idea if Apple’s terms of service effectively state this, but I’d be willing to bet the house they do, because they’re dozens and dozens and dozens of pages long and no one reads them. Even SO, who writes these things for a living, can’t get through them or make heads or tales of them. But they are one-sided, and you’re not the one-side.

  7. Once Steve died, Apple did nothing to meaningfully develop Siri. Siri languished . . . until others leapfrogged over it. In trying to defend Apple’s asleep-at-the-wheel posture, an Apple executive bragged that Siri had a 90 percent accuracy rate . . . which means that Siri had a 10 percent error rate. After having been an Apple loyalist since before the Mac, Siri was a major contributing factor to me leaving the Apple ecosystem.

    By the way, the kernel application is the Wolfram Alpha natural language query application. Siri simply provides a voice recognition overlay and uses Apple’s search capabilities. Anyone could combine Wolfram Alpha with a better voice recognition overlay and a better search engine — the world would be a better place.

  8. I like “Siri set a timer for x minutes” while cooking. Haven’t found any other compelling uses

  9. She should have sued apple for having led her to the scammer instead of delta .. this is so pathetic.

  10. Most corporations don’t care too much when their clients get scam calls

    In a bunch of cases I tried to report the number and information to company that was being scammed. I’ve gotten two types of response. a) they know and there isn’t much they can or seem to be willing to do about it or b) outright indifference

    Bottom line is most of these scams don’t cost the corporations a penny so they aren’t spending to combat it

  11. Google had the same fake southwest airlines number on the top 3 search results on their page all we’re not sou

  12. Delta can’t stop scammers from submitting fake numbers to Google.
    Delta can’t stop Google from putting up fake numbers for their customer service.
    Delta can’t stop Apple from having Siri trust Google results.
    Delta can’t stop individual customers from giving their CC numbers to scammers.

    What, exactly, would you expect Delta to do here?

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