Roku is a legitimate company, but malicious actors and scammers abuse its name to create fake support sites and cheat people.
Roku activation scams are when malicious actors pretend to be Roku support and try to charge people money for their “services”. But the real Roku does not charge activation or support fees. Anyone who says otherwise while asking for your money is a scammer.
Roku Activation Scams quicklinks
- What are Roku activation scams?
- Roku is free to set up
- Roku activation scams steal money
- How the scams work
- Scam search engine ads lead to scam sites
- Scammers claim to be “Roku Support”
- How to deal with Roku activation scams
- Automatic Malware removal tools
About Roku scams:
|Type of threat||Scam.|
|How Roku activation scams spread||Ads in search engine results, mistyped address results, and search results for fake sites.|
|How to avoid scams||Only go to Roku.com directly,
verify support numbers before calling them,
don’t give your payment details or remote access to your computer to people who are even the least bit suspicious.
|How to deal with Roku activation scams||Protect your money (you might need to contact your bank),
remove adware and remote access software if needed (with antivirus programs that you trust, such as Spyhunter for PC, Combo Cleaner for Mac, or others),
reset passwords if needed.
What are Roku activation scams?
Roku is free to set up
Roku is a device that can be attached to your TV to add features to it, like online streaming, web browsing, gaming, and others.
When a Roku is bought, it needs to be set up – connected to the internet, activated, etc. This can be done on Roku.com and no other site.
Unfortunately, scammers try to inject themselves into this process. They try to catch people looking for help in activating their Roku. They try to trick people into paying money for “support”.
It’s such a problem that, in its post about how to activate a Roku device, Support.roku.com stresses that they don’t charge for device activation. They also ask users to visit Roku.com directly to avoid fraudulent websites.
In addition, while Roku does require your credit card data or other payment data to enable you to buy apps and subscriptions to streaming services, it does not charge for support or for activation. Support.roku.com talks about this in more detail.
Roku activation scams steal money
Roku activation scams come in two types:
- Fake code input sites. These sites tell you to input your activation code, then say that there’s been an error and link to fake support sites.
- Predatory assistance sites that want you to think they’re Roku (but have a disclaimer at the bottom saying that they’re not Roku).
The fake assistance sites promote their phone numbers. The people operating these numbers claim to be Roku Support. They’re not – they aren’t affiliated with Roku in any way, no matter how real their websites look.
Here’s a Roku (Ruko? maybe preying on misspellings?) impersonator asking if they may they have your Roku activation code.
Falling for a Roku activation scam can result in you losing some money. It’s heartbreaking to read people’s accounts about them losing up to $120 to malicious actors: Community.roku.com.
At that point, if you accidentally pay scammers, you should contact your bank and ask for the money to be charged back. Be firm about it.
How the scams work
Scam search engine ads lead to scam sites
These scams websites are designed to resemble Roku’s. They spread with the help of search engine ads.
When you search for information about Roku activation online, you get a list of results. In theory, if you search for Roku, you should find Roku, right?
But the scam sites pay to be advertised on search results for Roku activation, so their ads appear above the results. Check out the post on Which.co.uk about how easy it is to spread fake ads.
In addition, the scammers design their websites to look just like Roku.com. It’s not hard at all, anyone can make a lookalike website.
The scammers even put “roku” in the addressed of their sites, like “MyRokuCom.com” or “Rokus.code-enroll.site”. These addresses aren’t affiliated with Roku and both are scam sites. Mistyping the “roku.com/link” address and being taken to Google search results reveals a few fake Roku sites.
If you try to activate your Roku by typing in the activation code that appears on your TV into one such scam site, you are asked to call a phone number – one that is also not associated with the real Roku. Then, you’re asked to pay.
If you want to know more about where these scams come from and the companies behind them, check out this post on OSINT Fans.
Scammers claim to be “Roku Support”
If you call the fake Roku site’s phone number, a scammer replies. Here are a few things that a Roku activation scammer might try to do:
- Ask you to install software on your computer. Get remote access to your computer.
- Ask you to use your computer if you were on your phone or tablet.
- Say that your Roku account information is invalid or that there are viruses on your computer. Then, say that they can fix it for a fee.
- Ask you to pay for support. If you call the scammer out for this, they’ll say that the Roku policy has recently changed or that you’re looking at the wrong page.
- If you end the call, the scammer will call you again.
If you realize or even just start suspecting that you’re talking to a scammer, end the call immediately. In general, don’t interact with scammers because they are very confident and could make you do things you wouldn’t normally do. They won’t give you space to breathe and think.
How to deal with Roku activation scams
Fake search engine ads do happen, there’s nothing you can do about them but try to be careful what you click on.
However, if you experience excessive numbers of ads or if your searches don’t work right (you’re forced to use an unusual search engine), then you would be exposed to more malicious ads than normal. Those sorts of problems may be caused by browser hijackers.
If you suspect that there’s malware on your computer, you can check your recently installed programs, apps, and browser extensions. You could use an anti-malware app, such as Spyhunter for Windows, Combo Cleaner for macOS, and others, to find and remove malware. You can also use anti-malware apps to block malicious websites.
But an antivirus program won’t fix the harm that the Roku activation scam might have already caused. Not to mention, the fake support sites don’t usually spread malware.
Like Roku.com advised, once you bought the device, the activation is free. If you paid for Roku activation, that was a scam. Keep an eye on your bank and card accounts and if an unfamiliar company charges you money, then you can contest it. Ask your bank to reverse the charge.
If the scammers told you to install anything on your computer, remove that software. If the scammer did access your computer, reset your passwords.
If you revealed any personal information to the scammers, look into advice for victims of phishing. Even if you didn’t lose money, you should still think about reporting the scam.
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