Since its launch in 2002, Roku has positioned itself as a TV streaming pioneer, and still a leader among its peers today. The company continues to regularly create state-of-the-art devices to lure the growing number of consumers moving to “cut the cord” from traditional satellite and cable (and the associated costs thereof).
Via a Roku player (shown above), streaming stick, or Roku TV, users can access and organize a variety of available streaming channels and content. It’s quick and convenient which, according to Roku, has helped to make them the #1 streaming platform in America.
Whenever a streaming service gains the level of popularity that Roku has, scammers are bound to follow and try to take advantage. And so they have. How can you tell if you are about to be the victim of a Roku scam? How can you identify if someone may already have access to your account? And if so, how do you stop them?
Read the following guide to find out more about some of the common scams associated with Roku, how to verify if your account has been hacked, and then how to keep any unauthorized users out.
(Do you use a streaming service other than Roku? Check out our other Streaming Service Scams guides for help with other major providers.)
Popular Scams Associated with Roku
Tech Support Scams
Roku is supposed to be an easy-to-set-up and easy-to-use system. But that doesn’t mean that some people can’t have challenges setting things up. In that case, they may try to reach out for technical support.
With this scam, like spiders, fraudsters wait for their victims to come to them. If needing tech support, new users are supposed to contact Roku by going to the web address that appears on their screen. But sometimes, people mistype the address. Or, they simply perform a general online search for “Roku activation” or something similar. Then, they click on one of the first results that pop up.
Unfortunately, a lot of these supposed tech help sites are scams. The sites offer to help set-up a Roku device or account for a fee. Except, as Roku is quick to point out, they never charge to activate a device, create an account, or provide any sort of customer service.
To try and protect customers from falling victim to such a scam, the company includes explicit messaging throughout their installation literature and on the set-up screen.
Whether brand-new or long-timers, users may come across an email that looks like it’s from Roku. Nothing scary about that really, except the subject line claims that the user account has been locked. Going into the email will provide further explanation. The account has been locked due to suspicious activity, or some similar cause.
Then, you will be told to click the link in the email to 1) recover your account immediately or, 2) go to the Roku website to recover the account. Either option is designed to give a hacker access to your account, if not your entire device.
Many such phishing emails will probably look fishy from the start. But in order to confirm the fraud, you can:
- Verify the sender’s email address. If the domain does not end with @roku.com, it is not legitimate.
- Carefully study the email for grammatical errors or misspellings. And if the tone seems overly urgent (a common scammer tactic), that should be a red flag for a scam.
- Hover your cursor over any links in the email. It may have “roku” in there somewhere. But if the destination is otherwise convoluted or misspelled, do not click on it.
- Don’t worry about being overly cautious. If you still aren’t sure about the legitimacy of an email, reach out to Roku support directly to confirm.
- If you do end up on a spoofed website, doing the same address and link confirmation should tell you whether it’s real or not.
How to Find Out if Your Roku Account Was Hacked
The most common way to identify if an unauthorized person has access your account is to check your purchase history. (If you happen to have more than one account, be sure to check all of them for their purchase history.)
See a transaction you don’t recognize? Before panicking, you should confirm if the charge isn’t some sort of payment hold. You should also check with any others in your household who may have access to the account to see if they made the purchase.
If further investigation still offers no explanation for a charge, you may assume a hacker got into your account, purchased something, and then left. In this case, you should change your password immediately. Then, contact Roku support to report the incident.
Steps You Should Take to Block Hackers
With the right security fail safes in place, the potential hacking scenario just outlined is much less likely to happen, if not very near impossible. In order to keep your Roku account secure from the very beginning, Roku Support suggests taking the following precautions:
- Use a valid email address. This ensures you always get timely communications and updates regarding your account.
- Create a strong password. You know the rules: complex but easy for you to remember, and unique from any other account.
- Create a PIN. This adds another layer of security to the transaction authorization process.
- Stay away from phishing sites. Take the steps outlined in the previous section to identify when a site could be a fake.
- Keep an eye on your purchase history. Periodically check your account and the purchases that have been made. Make sure you (or anyone else with access to Roku) recognize those purchases.
Ultimately, Roku is well-aware of the scams that target them and their users. In order to provide unparalleled service and support–and ensure customer confidence–they are always there to keep you and your streaming system secure.
This post is one in a series about managing streaming service scams. Others include:
For more information about other kinds of scams, you can find it on the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo credit: APN Photography – www.shutterstock.com