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Security & privacy

Use a Roku? Watch out for this sneaky tech support scam

It seems that nothing is safe from a proliferation of scams. Crooks will reach out through any means to get your personal and financial information, from calls to texts to phony websites and more.

Scammers know that people seeking customer support are vulnerable, and they have found a new twist to an old trick. They send fake subscription emails that indicate a bill is due, or service is about to expire. When you follow up, they try to get you to sign up and give away information they never had to begin with. Tap or click here to see how to spot and avoid these scams.

Roku is a popular device that allows you to stream all sorts of content without the need for cable or a smart TV. All you need is an internet connection. The devices are affordable enough to be easily replaced for a new unit if you need one or want to upgrade. Unfortunately, scammers are quick to take advantage of this. Read on to see what to look out for.

A pleasant sounding voice

This new Roku scam comes to light via a case reported on by USA Today. Maureen McDonald got a new Roku device to go along with a new TV. While setting it up, an 800 number appeared onscreen with instructions to call for activation. She called the number and described a “pleasant” person who offered her a lifetime service plan for $190. She paid with a debit card.

When the man called again demanding more money, threatening to cut off her service, she got suspicious. Didn’t she already pay for a lifetime? It turns out that the entire thing was a scam.

Stay vigilant

Like many other scams, this one relies on a lack of knowledge. A quick visit to the Roku website will confirm that there is never a charge for setting up a Roku account or activating a device.

When it comes to avoiding scams like the one above, there are general steps you can take that will help to protect you:

  • Never click on a link in an unfamiliar or suspicious-looking email. Poor grammar and spelling are dead giveaways for a scam.
  • If you get an email or text message asking for personal or financial information, don’t give anything over. Contact the company through its official phone number.
  • If you didn’t sign up for a service but are told it’s about to expire, it’s a scam. This is common in car warranty robocalls.
  • With any service you use, always double-check if it even charges you to begin with. If so, use official channels to contact support if needed.

Keep reading

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