The Better Business Bureau is warning that a company called itself CaliGeeks Inc. is misleading Roku customers into paying ‘activation fees’ ranging from $79.99 to $249.99.
Roku, which makes streaming devices, does not require an activation fee.
The BBB alert says the activation fee scheme has affected Roku customers in more than 25 states. Roku owners have told the BBB that when they try to activate their Roku devices, and Roku-enabled Smart TVs, an error message displays. The message says they need to call a CaliGeeks service number, and when they do, they are told they must pay the activation fee.
The consumer agency does not say how someone has been able to insert the activation prompt, but it would seem likely the devices have been hacked. Other Roku owners have posted messages on Internet message boards saying a different ‘CaliGeeks’ on-screen message says they must pay lifetime membership fees.
Roku does not require any monthly or lifetime fee to use their devices.
“The prompt to call CaliGeeks, Inc., allegedly happens when setting up electronics and smart devices,” the Better Business Bureau states in a press release. “BBB cautions the public that even smart televisions can be compromised by tech savvy schemes.”
The BBB says CaliGeeks, which is purportedly based in Garland, Texas, has an ‘F’ rating due to its failure to respond 27 complaints filed against the business.
“CaliGeeks claims to be affiliated with Roku,” one scammed customer told the BBB. “They charged me $59.99 for a Roku service. I confirmed with Roku that they are not affiliated. Very deceptive. The concerning part is that they were able to access my television and account.”
The BBB says it has begun investigating CaliGeeks, and it has asked the company for an explanation for the Roku activation fees. Thus far, CaliGeeks has not responded, the BBB says.
The BBB says if you see a CaliGeeks message when you try to activate your Roku device, or have previously paid CaliGeeks, you should do the following:
* Make sure that you are calling Roku and work with them directly:
* If you believe that you have interacted with a fraudulent website, email Roku (firstname.lastname@example.org):
* Call your credit card company to request that charges be reversed:
* Check you bank and credit card statements for inaccuracies:
* Remove any software that any third-party may have installed on your devices and run a malware scan:
* Change any passwords for programs that you used on these devices, including the password to access your Roku.com account;
* File a complaint with Better Business Bureau to alert BBB of the occurrence;
* File a complaint with Federal Trade Commission;
* Be sure to include the following information in any complaint: the website address of any fraudulent website, any phone numbers that you were prompted to call, and details about how you were approached to pay the fee to install your Roku device.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann