Being Asked to Pay to Set Up Your Roku Device? It’s a Scam

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So you’ve purchased a Roku device and can’t wait to watch all the TV shows, movies and other content you love.

As you prepare to set up the device, be careful: Crooks are targeting new Roku customers and charging them to activate their accounts.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to avoid getting scammed by criminals targeting Roku users. As a Roku user myself, I’ve made it a point to stay safe when using the device.

If you’re new to Roku, the first thing you need to know is that you can’t complete your setup on the TV. You must use a computer, tablet or smartphone to activate the service.

Here’s How Criminals Are Targeting New Roku Users

The problem with going online to activate your Roku is that there are a number of fake websites offering to help you set it up. But they really just want to deactivate your money from your wallet!

Another Roku scam involves third-party sellers.

One person contacted money expert Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Center (CAC) after their father bought a refurbished Roku Ultra on Amazon.

“While trying to set it up, a message flashed on his screen saying he would need to call 818-527-4949 to activate the unit,” the person relates in an email. “When he did, they told him he could pay $69 for four years or more ($130?) or a lifetime set up.”

Roku Scams: Here’s What You Need to Know

The thing is, it is free to set up a Roku. The company does not charge customers to activate their accounts. If you encounter a Roku activation website or someone trying to charge you any amount of money, it’s a scam.

If you input your credit card number on the wrong website, criminals could access that information and potentially ruin your financial life.


It’s important to know that Roku does ask for your credit card information — if you want to rent movies or buy premium content.

What Is the Correct Way to Activate Roku?

There’s only one correct online link to activate your Roku service: That’s it.

The schemes have evidently fooled many a cord-cutter. The problem with lookalike Roku activation sites has gotten so bad that Roku now includes a warning in the setup manual that comes with the device.

“Make sure you type into the browser being careful not to misspell or add extra characters. Typing this incorrectly may take you to fraudulent websites,” the instructions say.

Roku setup instruction manual with scam warning
Photo credit: Screenshot of Roku instructions manual

Final Thought

When activating your Roku, again, make sure you type the correct URL into the address bar. Relying on a Google search could send you to the wrong site, which could potentially be a scam.

If you choose to buy from a third-party seller online, make sure it has high ratings before you purchase it.

This video walks you through the steps to set up a Roku Express so you can start streaming safely:

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