PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)-- Electronics gadgets, like media players, virtual assistants and streaming devices, are popular these days because they make our lives a little easier.
“Hey Alexa... turn on my music.”
But before you use these devices, you must "activate" them so they're ready.
And scammers are beating consumers to the punch with a very clever scam.
"Folk [who] are starting to purchase new technology or gadgets or devices are starting to get targeted by scammers."
Felicia Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau. She says consumers across the country, who just purchased new electronics, were lured to fake, look-a-like websites. The faux websites have phony customer support representatives who charge people to set up their devices.
Thompson said some victims were duped into paying up to $100, when activation really doesn't cost anything.
"They're misleading people into believing [that] with the activation you have to pay for that, versus it being completely free," Thompson said.
Thompson goes on to say that scammers get your money by asking that you pay with a prepaid gift card or a credit card.
"The red flags here are: if they're asking for credit card information, your bank account number, something that would lead to them having access to your money, then that's something you want to avoid because activation on these devices are simply free."
3 On Your Side got a hold of the popular online streaming service Roku and asked them how the scam has affected business and their customers.
"We are aware of certain fraudulent websites that are not affiliated with Roku that claim to offer ‘Roku Technical Support,’” Roku said in an email. "We warn customers in the various touch points we have with them – in the quick start guide that comes with the package, on the screen during account linking, and on our website."
Roku says it doesn't charge an activation fee and will never ask for your Social Security number or passwords.
The Better Business Bureau hopes consumers pay close attention when they need assistance activating a new electronic device.
"If you do need help from customer service, you can google and make sure you really pay attention to the website. Unfortunately, these scam sites look very sophisticated. So, make sure that you know that you're not giving a credit card number or any personal information that can lead to identity theft."
Remember when you buy an electronic device, it should come with instructions on how to activate it-- and use those instructions. And if you need help from the internet, make sure you're on company's real website and not a look-a-like.
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