Scammers Are Now Targeting You Through Your Smart TV — How To Protect Yourself

Friends choosing a movie to watch together at home, video on demand concept.
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They’re called smart TVs, but that doesn’t make them immune to hacking. As technology advances by the minute, so do the ways in which criminals use it to carry out scams under the blanket of anonymity.

Smart TVs stream entertainment directly to your television through an internet connection, without the need for an aerial or cable. Being connected, smart TVs are just another available route for scammers to use to try to steal your money and personal information.

What Are Smart TV Scams?

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), scammers are using fake pop-ups to lure victims trying to connect to their favorite streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+. Citing a problem with your TV or streaming service, a prompt to phone a call center or visit a website to resolve the error is offered.

Posing as customer service representatives, scammers will try to elicit payment for activating the inoperative service — or gain permission to remotely access your smart TV. Doing either will provide the personal and/or financial information they crave. Allowing access to any of your devices is extremely ill-advised.

Make Your Money Work for You

Beware of scammers who request payment in gift cards for repairing your smart TV “errors.” As the BBB recounted, one consumer who tried to deal with a phony error was instructed to buy three $100 Xbox gift cards to add “anti-hacking protection” to their account.

Activation code pop-ups and URL links are other common points of contact that scammers will use to swindle unsuspecting targets, per

How To Prevent Becoming a Victim of Smart TV Scams

There are a few things the average American can do to stop scammers. Understanding potential threats and the ways your online behavior can help or hinder these types of attacks will protect you enormously.

Aside from conducting yourself carefully online, here are some actions you can take to prevent cyber intrusions and online crimes while using your smart TV, according to the BBB.

1. Examine All Activation and Service Fees

Knowing what you’re paying for and being aware of any additional charges will help you from becoming a smart TV scam victim. Criminals will attempt to lure you with any type of surprise fee: registration, activation, service or antivirus/protection charges.

2. Ensure the URL You’re Accessing is Real

Make Your Money Work for You

As the BBB stated, “Scammers love to create imitation websites using URLs that are just a letter or two off.” Ensure that any URL you are accessing is the real deal, whether on your smart TV, phone or laptop. Always be cautious of copycat sites when clicking on any link or pop-up.

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3. Double Check All Phone Numbers

Many fraudulent pop-ups or sites will present a support phone number so you can talk to a support agent. Should a contact number appear on your screen, check it against those on official websites, which should be easy to find.

4. Never Grant Remote Access to Your Device

This mainly applies to computer and laptops, but scammers will try to open an access point to your information by any means possible. As notes, no genuine company support department will request access to your smart TV. If they do, let your suspicion get the better of you and contact your streaming service, TV manufacturer or internet provider directly, through their official email, website or phone number.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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