Roku scam asks users to pay for “lifetime” registration

The logo of streaming hardware maker and platform Roku.
The logo of streaming hardware maker and platform Roku. (Graphic by The Desk)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw great money-saving deals on electronics, including smart TVs and set-top devices with Roku’s robust operating system built in.

But some of the money customers are saving by purchasing so early in the holiday shopping season is being lost thanks to numerous scams that claim Roku users have to pay a fee to register their device.

The scam happens when a customer powers on their device for the first time. During setup, a registration screen with a code and an official Roku web address appears.

Most users have no problems activating their Roku device, but some — especially those who use their smartphone during the activation process — are encountering fraudulent websites that claim a customer is required to pay a fee for registration.

The scam works when customers accidentally enter the official account registration website incorrectly into their web browser. When this happens, many customers are taken to a search engine like Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing where links to fraudulent registration pages are listed among real support pages offered by Roku.

The Desk turned up a number of these fake registration websites, including RokuComLinks.org, RokuEnterCode.com, Roku-devicecomlink.com, activateroku.tv, MyRokuActivationCode.com, RokuComLink.net, RokuComLinks.support, RokuActivation.net, www.roku-code-link.com, roku-com-link.uk.com, LinkActivationRoku.com and Rokucoms.com. Some websites claim Roku users must pay a one-time activation fee in order to use their device, while others say Roku users have to pay either a recurring or lifetime fee.

The scam has become so persistent that Roku has an official webpage in which the company clearly lays out that it never charges customers to activate their devices.

“Roku does not charge an activation fee or charge for support,” Roku writes. “There is never a charge to create a Roku account.”

Roku says all account activations are done through its own website. The company does not use third party services to activate Roku devices for customers.

“If you come across a webpage whose URL points to a domain other than roku.com and that purports to offer technical support for Roku products, the webpage is not affiliated with Roku and you should not follow any instructions on the webpage,” Roku’s official statement says.

Roku says the only real activation page for Roku devices and smart TVs is located at https://my.roku.com/link. That site does not require payment in exchange for activation.

Roku says any customer who feels they may have been scammed through a fake activation service should dispute any charges with their bank or credit card issuer, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, change their password if they already had a Roku account and reach out to Roku via their customer service email address [email protected].