How does a Roku scam work?
A Roku scam is a scheme where scammers try to access your Roku device, disrupt your streaming service, or con you into giving up your personal or financial information. These approaches will usually depend on a Roku customer’s inexperience with their devices or service/account disruptions that can trigger customers to contact tech support.
Some other approaches include impersonating Roku employees, offering legitimate-sounding plans/upgrades to Roku users, or directing users to a bogus website that appears to be the official Roku site. Once they’ve gained your trust, scammers can push you to hand over remote access to your Roku device, extort money from you, or fish for more sensitive and useful personal information.
What are the different types of Roku scams?
Because of the several points of interaction between Roku users, their Roku device, and Roku’s services, there are many ways a scammer can attempt to con a customer. By understanding what types of situations can easily lead to a scam, you’ll be better equipped to identify and avoid them.
Here are some situations to watch out for:
Roku activation scams
Roku devices will need initial setup and activation upon their first use. Scammers will often try to convince new Roku users that their device needs to be activated at a cost. They’ll either display a number to call on a user’s smart TV or cold call the customer and inform them that they need to pay an activation fee before using their Roku device.
However, Roku doesn’t charge an activation fee. It even streamlines the process by allowing users to activate their devices through email. The official Roku website has all the details needed for a customer to activate their device, with no activation fee necessary.
Fake Roku deals
Scammers can also try misleading Roku users into signing up for “premium” Roku deals by pretending to be official Roku representatives. If you get a call from a “Roku representative” with offers like a “lifetime full-service plan,” it’s most likely a scam.
Customers should also be wary of advertisements offering deals on Roku subscriptions. Some of these advertisements may even lead to fake websites that encourage you to give your credit card information. Always check the domain of the website you’re visiting, no matter how legitimate the content or visuals look like.
Fake Roku support
Some scammers go one step further and cultivate relationships with their targets, often posing as Roku tech support. These fake Roku tech support agents will try to encourage you to sign up for lifetime warranties or tech support or sell lifetime subscriptions once they’ve gained your trust.
Legitimate Roku tech support will never ask for your credit card information or encourage you to sign up for subscriptions. If you get contacted by someone (or called a “support phone number”) and get asked for your personal and financial information, it’s most likely a scam.
Roku phishing emails
Roku users can also receive bogus emails from scammers with the intent of acquiring their credit card information or Roku account details. These official-looking phishing emails can be easily mistaken for the legitimate emails that Roku sends to customers. The emails can also sometimes include offers or freebies to further tempt the customer.
However, Roku will never ask for credit card information, account details, and other personal information over email. If you receive emails that try to extract personal information, delete the email immediately and don’t click on any links, open/download any files, or call any numbers provided.
Roku device takeover
Scammers may attempt to take over your Roku device by using their own Roku accounts to activate it. They’ll try to pose as technical support and ask for the details of your Roku device. They’ll then use their own Roku accounts to activate and lock you out of your devices.
If they manage to activate your device with their accounts, they’ll usually demand payment to give you access to your devices. And even if you cooperate and pay up, there’s no guarantee that they haven’t already compromised your device by installing malicious software.
Roku new account creation scam
Scammers can also try to call you while you’re trying to set up your Roku device and ask for credit card payment to create your account. Alternatively, they can claim that your Roku player or device won’t start working until it’s been “registered” — again, after paying a fee.
Roku accounts and device setup will never have any fees, and legitimate Roku technical support will never try to sell you subscriptions/plans or try to get you to disclose personal information. If the person who’s calling you tries to ask for payment for any service related to your Roku, it’s most likely a scam.
What should you do if you fall victim to Roku scams?
Roku tech support scams can be highly effective because they rely on our natural trust in professionals like repair technicians or authorized customer representatives. People are more likely to give up information or allow remote access so they can get back to their usual streaming, rather than commit the time and effort to check whether they’re interacting with official Roku staff or service.
If you’ve fallen victim or suspect that you’ve been targeted by a Roku scam, do the following to limit the damage that scammers can inflict:
Check your bank account
If you’ve already given out financial information to a scammer, call your bank and your credit card company immediately and inform them about what happened. You can freeze the bank account or your credit card to prevent any further charges or withdrawals.
Don’t be complacent if you haven’t lost any money upon checking your account. Some scammers may choose to wait for a while before withdrawing funds or making transactions. Always monitor your bank and credit card statements for any fraudulent or unauthorized charges.
Check your Roku account and password
If you suspect a scammer has gained control over your Roku device, you can check which account your device is linked to in its settings.
- Access your Roku device’s “Settings.”
- Select “System.”
- Check the “About” tab and the activation email registered to the device.
If you don’t recognize the email address, factory reset your Roku device and reactivate it using your email address and credentials. For added security, you should also update your Roku account’s password.
Report Roku scams
After you’ve secured your Roku devices and accounts, report the incident to Roku’s official report scam page. You’ll be asked to fill in information about how the scam happened, your customer details, and any details the scammer may have shared about themselves.
It’s important to submit an accurate and detailed report so Roku can better help you recover from the scam. These scam reports are also taken into consideration for all future Roku products and services, so you’ll be helping other Roku users who may be potential scam victims.
Remove any suspicious software installed by scammers
Use a reliable antivirus or anti-malware program to scan and eliminate any harmful software that scammers may have installed on your devices. Be especially aware of programs that allow them remote access to your device or software that can piggyback on your Roku’s activity.
You can also use a VPN and advanced threat protection solutions to minimize further security risks to your Roku. Security solutions such as NordVPN help defend your devices against malware, reduce the risk of leaked credit card details, and allow you to use your Roku securely.
How to protect yourself from Roku scams
Roku scams can evolve in complexity and sophistication as more households introduce Roku and other devices like smart televisions into their homes. Here’s a short checklist of things you should do to reduce your risk of falling victim to a Roku scam:
- Always verify if you’re talking to official Roku support agents or if you’re interacting with a legitimate Roku website.
- Never give any personal information to unauthorized people, especially sensitive data like your date of birth, social security number, or financial information.
- Do not share account details or other personal information with anyone claiming to be a Roku support agent — legitimate Roku support staff will never ask for it.
- Do not allow remote access to your computer or other devices, as scammers can use this to hijack the rest of your network/accounts.
- Avoid clicking any suspicious link, especially if it’s attached to an email or an advertisement.
Stream safely by being aware of Roku scams
Roku has taken steps to simplify the process of setting up your Roku account, device, and other related streaming services. However, these steps can often be hijacked by scammers who are trying to gain access to your information and devices.
Being aware of how these scams work and practicing safe online habits can drastically reduce the risk that you’ll fall victim to these scams and allow you to enjoy your streaming services without disruption or any issues.
Frequently asked questions about Roku scams
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