New Roku and other streaming device users beware. These scammers are running a large network of lookalike websites tricking into paying “activation” or “set-up” fees for something coming free of charges.
How do these scams work? What Roku scam websites belong to the same circle of scammers? Read on to find out.
How the scam works
The spiel is that if someone is trying to activate a streaming device and Googles “Roku activation”, paid ads would pop up within the search results all leading to the scammy sites.
Top 4 results on Google (in a private window with uBlock Origin disabled) are all fake sites which lead to 800 numbers to scammers. @RokuSupport needs to step in here and take these down. pic.twitter.com/yzSoEzHfhx— Michael | Unstable World (@esposimi) May 18, 2020
The victims are then asked to pay a one-off activation fee and/or a substantial charge for tech support services not required in the first place. Needless to say, these lookalike websites are not related to Roku in any capacity. Roku device activation at roku.com/link and general tech support from Roku is free of charge.
In sum, these lookalike websites are created and pushed on Google Ads to give the victims an impression that the website is associated with Roku and a payment fee is required to get started.
Same scam different shill
When I started to unravel this operation, what caught my eye was a single phone number. A post on Scammer.info and BobRTC confirmed that
+1 888 990 4266 appear to be associated with Roku activation scams.
Then, a little research revealed that
+1 888 990 4266 is associated with two suspicious sites:
rockstreamingmedia.com(more about this later); and
cliqmediastream.com(from the contact us page).
cliqmediastream.com features two phone numbers. The top bar of
cliqmediastream.com says the contact number is
+1 866 920 2601. A little Google research reveals that
+1 866 920 2601 is also associated with a Roku scam running at
streamprosetup.com, a similar site offering similar streaming device support and registration services.
The conclusion is that
streamprosetup.com all belong to the same circle because of the identical phone numbers.
Going down the rabbit hole
Let’s dig into other details now. The company address listed on
2810 Crossroads Drive, Suite 4011, Madison, WI-53590, which is a boring office block.
It turns out that a large number of sites posing as Roku support also feature the same address in Madison for one reason or the other:
ashstreamservices.com byarvitsolutions.com linkmediasetup.com roku-tvactivation.com rokutvactivation.com setupstreamingdevice.com streamyourtv.online streamysticks.online
activatestreamingdevices.com gobestream.com linkcodesetup.com my-rokutvactivationcode.com primetvsetup.com setupstreammedia.com smarttvservices.com startvmounting.com streamingdeviceactivations.com streamingdevicelink.com streammedialine.com urbanstreammedia.ca
Branching off to GPS software update scams
Interestingly, one of the domains at
streamysticks.online features an Australian phone number:
+61 025 104 0010.
It turns out the same phone number is featured on websites associated with Garmin and TomTom software update scams:
garmingpsdownload.com garmingpsupdatess.com garminsatnavupdate.com garminsatnavupdates.com gps-express-update.com netgearextsetup.com tomtomgopre.com tomtommydrive.online tomtomupdatess.com
The following digits are associated with the websites from above:
+1 608 318 1815 +1 608 512 7012 +1 608 807 5563 +1 732 640 6380 +1 800 754 1007 +1 800 895 3687 +1 833 210 5754 +1 833 627 3222 +1 844 687 1001 +1 855 696 4140 +1 866 909 3149 +1 866 920 2601 +1 888 345 9888 +1 888 506 5158 +1 888 516 2397 +1 888 944 4004 +1 888 962 0622 +1 888 984 6070 +1 888 990 4266 +61 025 1040 010
Are these websites tied to a US company?
rockstreamingmedia.com from the beginning? The name of the company running this site – according to the Cancellation Policy page – is Rokku Streaming Media LLC.
After digging into a handful of public company registers, it appears that a similarly named company Rokku Streaming Media Services LLC is registered in the office block at
2810 Crossroads Drive, Suite 4033, Madison, WI-53718 (very similar address featuring on the fake Roku sites from above). Is this a coincidence and someone is merely abusing the details of a legitimate company?
According to the company documents, Rokku Streaming Media Services LLC is providing Custom Computer Programming Services and the sole owner is Ms Gagandeep K Mangat. Ms Mangat named
254 Moorland Place, Sun Prairie, WI 53590 as her contact address on the company register.
After the careful analysis of the public posts of the Facebook profiles of Ms Mangat, Mr Aulakh is the husband of Ms Mangat, and the Sun Prairie address also from the company register is the couple’s home.
Ms Mangat runs two more companies named Divergent Group and Companies Inc. (divergentgroups.com) and Pro Tech Mind, LLC according to public records.
The latter company, Pro Tech Mind is offering TV and home entertainment installation services according to the website. Ms Mangat also appears to be associated with a similar company called HelloTech.
Interestingly, the same three employees work for both companies and they are called by different names.
In parallel, the husband – Mr Aulakh – also manages a company named Cultivate Group LLC.
Each of the corporate entity is specialising in Custom Computer Programming Services according to the public records, just like Rokku Streaming Media LLC.
It is always exciting to have a new gadget at home. However, one should exercise great care when it comes to the initial setup and activation of the device. Scammers are setting up fake tech support sites and gaming the Google search results to get your money.
To avoid being scammed, always follow the on-screen instructions of your streaming device and never take shortcuts by doing a Google search for the setup page. If you are stuck, call the official tech support number of Roku or your streaming device brand.
What happens when a victim calls up one these support numbers? Here is an amusing video from Kitboga about his experience with a fake Roku tech support scam: