CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Schemers are figuring out ways to target victims through any device connected to the internet, and now, TVs are no exception.

You open a streaming service on your smart TV, but you can’t log in, according to a news release sent to 22News from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). A pop-up appears and tells you that there is a problem with your device or your streaming subscription and that you need to call a phone number or visit a website to fix it.

If you call the number, schemers will pretend to be customer service representatives and will insist you pay an activation fee or allow them remote access to your smart TV. These schemers will get your credit or debit card number if you pay the fee, and if you give them access to your device or click on a link they provide, the schemers might install malware on your TV and use it to gain access to sensitive information.

Sometimes the schemers might ask you to “fix” the issue by paying them in gift cards. One consumer said that after calling a number that appeared in a pop-up on their smart TV, a schemer instructed them to purchase three $100 Xbox gift cards to add “anti-hacking protection” onto their account. After they bought the gift cards and contacted the number again, it became clear they were dealing with schemers.

The BBB provides tips on how to avoid these smart TV schemes:

  • Double-check any fees that 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. For example, scammers claim you need to pay an activation fee to start using your Roku. However, a quick online search reveals that Roku never charges activation or registration fees.
  • Don’t fall for fake websites. Scammers love to create fake 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. Another way to protect yourself is to avoid clicking on links in pop-ups and, instead, type web URLs directly into your browser.
  • Check before you call. If a “customer service” phone number appears in a pop-up, double-check it before you call. 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.