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Security & privacy

Scammers are using your TV against you to get you to pay up

Anything that connects to the internet can be hacked. However, many people wrongly assume that smart TVs are immune. Tap or click here for four vital steps to protect your online accounts from hackers and scammers.

While there isn’t much personal information stored on your TV, hackers can cause trouble in other ways. A new trend is thieves forcing pop-ups onto unsuspecting victims’ smart TVs. If you fall for them, you’ll end up handing your money to crooks.

Read on to see how this devious scheme works and ways to outsmart them.

Thieves targeting your smart TV

One of the most significant benefits of smart TVs is their ability to connect to the internet. You can install streaming apps to view your favorite content through a Wi-Fi connection.

Generally, each streaming application has its own subscription. If you don’t pay regularly, your service can be cut off. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), hackers are breaching smart TVs to trick you into thinking you haven’t paid a service fee.

“You open a familiar streaming service on your smart TV. However, you can’t log in. Instead, a pop-up appears, telling you there is a problem with your device or your streaming subscription. You need to call a phone number or visit a website to fix it,” the BBB explains

How to avoid smart TV pop-up scams

The worst thing you can do is call the number on the screen or follow the link provided. Hackers figured out a way to display these pop-ups on your smart TV, and their goal is to steal your money and personal information.

If you do phone the number, a fake representative will insist you pay an activation fee or allow them remote access to your smart TV. They then install malware onto your TV that captures your personal information.

Here are BBB suggestions on how to avoid smart TV scams.

  • Double-check any fees you have to pay. Research beforehand if a pop-up asks you to pay an activation fee, antivirus protection fee, or any other kind of fee. For example, scammers claim you must pay an activation fee to use your Roku. However, a quick online search reveals that Roku never charges activation or registration fees.
  • Don’t fall for fake websites. Scammers love creating spoofed websites using URLs just a letter or two off. Fake websites are a threat, even on smart TVs, so verify the URL. Another way to protect yourself is to avoid clicking on links in pop-ups and, instead, type web URLs directly into your browser.
  • Check before you call. If a “customer service” phone number appears in a pop-up, double-check it before you call. Contact a streaming service or TV manufacturer’s website to find their official customer support number.
  • Never let anyone control your device remotely. Scammers usually ask for remote computer access but could also request access to your smart TV. Don’t ever give control of your device to a stranger.

If you’ve seen a smart TV scam, report it to Your report can help others avoid falling victim.

Keep reading

Yes, your smart TV is spying on you – Here’s how to stop it

Three ways to find out if your smart TV was hacked (and how to protect it)

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