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Level 7

Refurbished units hacked?

My father bought a refurbed Roku Ultra on Amazon. While trying to set it up, a message flashed on his screen saying he would need to call 818-527-4949 to activate the unit. When he did, they told him he could pay $69 for four years or more ($130?) or a lifetime set up.

I know the basic scam has been around for a few years but more people seem to be reporting a phone number appearing on their television screen. In the past, it was a search result they found on their own. 

Could hackers be preprogramming refurbed Rokus, whether they're labelled refurbed or not, to display such a screen? 

This incident has been reported to his bank, Roku and the FTC. I have an email for the scammers, rokucustomer@aol.com, and I'm stringing them along a bit ;-). They call my father several times a day but won't leave a message.  

I don't quite understand how someone would shop for the best deal on a Roku then pay more than 100% of the unit's cost to "activate" it but I guess when it's out of the package, they just want the **bleep** thing to work. 

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8 Replies
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Level 21

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

If that toll free number actually appeared on the TV screen, then yes that might be possible. Most of the scam reports we've seen here have been when they attempt to enter the code shown on the screen on the "Roku" web site, the web site is offering the contact number. If someone ever gets that message directly on the TV screen, it would be a great help if someone could get a picture of it.

Unfortunately, these scammers have manipulated the search engines to make their scam site place higher in a list of sites when someone searches for Roku support, and the auto-complete that is usually so convenient in all current browsers will often have the scam site as the first offered. 

Dan
Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 15

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

If the phone/computer is on the same network as the Roku, then they know your external IP address. They may have figured out how to hit your network in a way that router firewalls don't block and somehow get the TV to respond so they can put their own message on it after you've given them the real activation code.

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Level 8

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

Yes it is scam. Always call Roku customer service. Never EVER call a number that is not a number for Roku.  If you did not get the number from a Roku Website or online at Roku.com 100% you are getting scammed.  Contact Amazon and request a refund and investigation on the seller.

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Level 7

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

The phone number appeared on his tv before he called. That's why he called it. 

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Level 7

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

Yes, I understand the search manipulation tactic and that it's been around for a while.

But if this has evolved. If THE DEVICE is telling people to call scammers, that's an insidious escalation and shows that the scammers have moved far upstream. It's a tactic that many, many people would fall for.

"CSR" Jacob113 also told my father that he could check the authenticity of their relationship with Roku by calling their corporate legal office at 769-777-2319. Yes, I'm sure that number connects to the desk next to him in the boiler room, but I want to share details to help others.

In my research, this scam seems pervasive. Roku needs to do much more if they want to stay in business. 

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Level 7

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

I'm considering buying refurbed units on Amazon to see if I can discover one that instructs me to call a scammer for activation.

But I'm not sure what would happen next. Would Roku care? Why haven't they checked this? 

 

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Level 8

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

Roku does not have or would they have responsibility from 3rd party sellers. Unfortunately scammers are always one step ahead.  It's up to us to protect ourselves and loved ones. We have to accept responsibility and be mindful by sharing stories and advice like you did. It's like Ford being blamed for someone who modified a car and sold as legit.  Buyer Beware anytime you buy used of not from reputable sites 


@jsanmurf wrote:

Yes, I understand the search manipulation tactic and that it's been around for a while.

But if this has evolved. If THE DEVICE is telling people to call scammers, that's an insidious escalation and shows that the scammers have moved far upstream. It's a tactic that many, many people would fall for.

"CSR" Jacob113 also told my father that he could check the authenticity of their relationship with Roku by calling their corporate legal office at 769-777-2319. Yes, I'm sure that number connects to the desk next to him in the boiler room, but I want to share details to help others.

In my research, this scam seems pervasive. Roku needs to do much more if they want to stay in business. 


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Level 13

Re: Refurbished units hacked?

Perhaps changing the way Roku activation is set up in the first place is the only way to lockout scammers.  

How?  Simple. By not requiring your 16 digit debit/credit card numbers at all.  I know that it is suppose to make the user's lives much easier.  Not so.  It attracts the scammers to try to part these same users from their money.

I don't experience this problem on other companies' devices as they don't require a credit/debit card to activate it.  Or even on a streaming app channel.   I deal with the paywall apps on an individual  basis with no third party ever involved.in any way  I deal with each one individually + on a case by case basis with its own unique strong password.

No potential money=no scammers.

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