BBB tracking new ‘activation fee’ scam

Updated: Oct. 5, 2019 at 8:40 PM CDT
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(WAFB) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of a scam targeting unsuspecting new owners of media players, virtual assistants, and other tech devices. Users who may need a little extra help setting these devices up are especially as at risk for this scam, the BBB says.

The scam is initiated when the new owner searches for a customer support number to get help with setting up their device. Instead of the real website associated with the product, the new owner ends up on a look-alike site with phony customer support information. After calling that number, the user is informed that a new policy has been put into place: All device users must now pay an activation fee.

The BBB says it’s tracked payments made to scammers ranging from $80 to $100. Roku, Google Home, and Alexa are among the devices that could be included in this type of scam, the BBB says.


  • Make sure you are visiting an official website. Scammers are skilled at creating look-alike websites with addresses that are spelled slightly different than the official website’s address. Carefully double check the URL or go directly to the site listed in your device’s instruction booklet.
  • Beware of sponsored links. Fake websites sometimes pop up in your web browser’s sponsored ad section and appear at the top of the search list. Be careful what you click on.
  • Never make a payment with prepaid debit or gift cards. Reputable companies will never ask you to wire money or pay with prepaid cards. Money sent this way cannot be recuperated.

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