It seems that the more tech-savvy the general public gets, the more scammers endlessly try to use that same technology to their advantage.

The latest scam alert from the Better Business Bureau involves smart TVs. This scam starts when you try to open a familiar streaming service on your TV. When you attempt to do so, a pop-up appears claiming there is a problem with your device or the streaming subscription. To fix the issue, you are provided a phone number to call or a website to visit.

Don't do it. The phone number will be answered by scammers pretending to be customer service reps. They will adamantly tell you that you need to pay an activation fee or allow that they need remote access to your smart TV.

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Either way, you get scammed. If you pay the fake activation fee, scammers get your credit or debit card information. If you give them access to your device or click on a link they provide, malware will likely be installed on your TV and scammers get access to your sensitive personal information.

Another scam is you will be told that in order to fix the issue, you must pay them with gift cards, such as purchasing three $100 Xbox gift cards to add “anti-hacking protection” to your account.

Anytime you are asked to provide credit card information, click on a link, or are encouraged to purchase gift cards, it should be a giant red flag.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to avoid smart TV scams:

  • Double-check any fees you have to pay. If scammers ask you to pay an activation fee, antivirus protection fee, or any other kind of fee, do some research beforehand to verify a fee is involved with the service in question.
  • Don’t fall for fake websites. Scammers try to be clever by creating imitation websites using URLs that are just a letter or two off. Fake websites are a threat, even on smart TVs, so double-check the URL. Also, avoid clicking on links in pop-ups and, instead, type web URLs directly into your browser.
  • Check any phone number you're asked to call actually calling the number. Contact a streaming service or TV manufacturer’s website to find their customer support number.
  • Never let anyone control your device remotely. Scammers usually ask for remote computer access, but they could also ask for access to your smart TV. Don’t ever give control of your device to a stranger, period.

It little common sense and a little research can go a long way in avoiding be scammed.

LOOK: The biggest scams today and how you can protect yourself from them

Using data from the BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, Stacker identified the most common and costly types of scams in 2022.
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