Scams are nothing new, and unfortunately people do keep falling for them. Which keeps the scammers in business and motivated to continue scamming.
And now they are moving over to those with Roku devices.
According to the Detroit Free Press, a user set up a new Roku device and on her TV a message flashed saying to “call this number for help”. If it were anyone else, even very tech literate users, they’d likely call too. As it appeared to originate from the Roku in question.
After calling the number, the scammers were able to set up her device. Then offered her a “lifetime support plan” for $150. She paid and thought nothing of it. Til a few months later the scammers called back asking for more money, and if she didn’t pay, “Roku would deactivate her service.” That’s when the lightbulb went off and she realized it was a scam all along.
How to avoid Roku and other scams
This isn’t something that Roku put together, so don’t let this deter you from buying a Roku device. But we would recommend buying it from a reputable retailer like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. And it’s probably a good idea not to buy it used or refurbished.
Roku does have warnings on its site about this and other scams. But there are few things to remember here. A “lifetime customer service plan” is very vague. Companies like Roku would name it something more catchy, and that fits its brand. Maybe something like “Roku Customer Service+” since everyone likes to use the plus now. Generally if whatever they are selling sounds too vague or generalized, it’s likely a scam. And who would offer a “lifetime” customer service plan? Those are generally only a year or two, so they can continue collecting money to pay for the service.
Secondly, don’t forget that Roku and most streaming services do not charge an activation fee. The only money Roku really collects from you is the price of the hardware you’re buying and then whatever services you subscribe to (HBO MAX, Peacock, Netflix, etc).