Streaming services in a time of pandemic

Forced into isolation, we increasingly use streaming services. However, there is no shortage of fake platforms on the market, which trick customers, phish for their personal data and do not respect copyright laws. What to watch out for?
The number of users of streaming services is growing year by year. The real streaming boom came with the outbreak of the pandemic.
Traps of illegal streaming services:
– A typical trick of scammers is to present an unsuspecting home page with pictures or trailers of movies available for a short free trial period. After signing up, the user discovers they cannot access the promised content. A few days later, the consumer receives an invoice for the annual subscription that the trial period was automatically turned into.
– Most illegal streaming services, in addition to selling fake subscriptions, profit from selling personal information entered by users during registration. Sometimes they even send out, via email or SMS, private messages stating that more personal data is required for security reasons.
– Another source of income for fraudsters is advertising. Intrusive pop-up windows can appear on your screen. They are programmed in such a way that they are difficult to get rid of, and clicking on them generates revenue for the operator.
Check before registration:
– opinions of other users,
– whether the portal tempts to watch a movie still shown in cinemas – there is a big chance that it was illegally shown there,
– whether the price for subscription, in comparison with the legal competition, is not suspiciously attractive,
– advertisements on the website – those related to betting or pornography may indicate illegality of the service
– Are the site’s terms and conditions, contact information and phone number of the online support responsive?
– Are users allowed to upload files? This possibility is often associated with the illegality of the platform,
– whether the site uses the secure protocol https and not http – in the search field just before the website address,
– Does it inform about costs in a clear and easily accessible way,
– whether the site allows credit and debit card payments – then in case of problems you can ask your bank to start the “chargeback” procedure.
You have registered on an illegal website, how to proceed?
– Fake invoices often contain warrants, e.g. from a self-proclaimed solicitor or debt collection agency.
– Give the information to the police. You can also warn other users online, e.g. on social media.
– If you are not sure whether the information provided on a website is correct or if the platform you registered with is fake, consult the European Consumer Centre.

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