There is a New Scam Going Around Targeting Roku Users

Roku has been dominating the US market for awhile. With over half of all US streaming players being Roku players and over 70% of our readers owning a Roku, scammers seem to be starting to look for ways to make money off of their owners.

For some time now Cord Cutters News has been getting complaints that Roku owners are being charged to activate Roku devices that they just purchased. Recently these complaints have been growing with buyers saying they have been charged $25 to $50 to set up their Rokus.

This is a new scam going around. Cord Cutters News has confirmed with Roku that setting up your Roku is still 100% free after you buy your Roku.

The issue seems to come when new Roku owners are told to go to Roku’s site and enter a code on their screen. A growing number of buyers are not just entering the address shown on the screen but googling Roku Activation and clicking one of many non-Roku sites that come up in the Google results.

These sites often have Roku in the name but are not owned by Roku. They offer to set up your Roku for you and even offer a phone number and live chat. Yet some of these services (we have not tested all of them) will charge you for their help setting up your Roku—a process that is 100% free if you do it. The issue comes in when some of these sites lead the caller to think the only way to setup their Roku is to pay.

Just remember DO NOT PAY TO SET UP YOUR ROKU. There is no need to pay to set up a Roku. Roku does this for FREE.

How to set up your Roku without paying for it.

If you need help setting up your Roku all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions. At some point it will give you a 5 letter/number code that looks like “XD12G.” (That is just an example, every Roku has a different code.)

From there just go to and enter the code you see on your Roku. Do NOT google Roku Activation. Just enter the link as shown above or click on that link to open a new window.

From there Roku will ask you to log in if you already have a Roku account or to create a free account by entering a user name and password. That account will allow you to easily set up new Roku players by just logging in.

Now you are all set. Your Roku will automatically finish the set up after you finish setting up your Roku account.

Remember there is no cost to set up a Roku after you buy it. Also remember to always to be careful that the website you are on is the real website not a fake one. Any website that is not is not a Roku-owned website.

Hopefully this helps you avoid spending money on something that should be free.

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42 Responses to There is a New Scam Going Around Targeting Roku Users

  1. Avatar
    Keith Foster May 8, 2017 at 7:27 am #

    This happend to my Mother about two moths ago. She picked up a Roku per my suggestion and set it up when she went to link it she was told it was 50 bucks. She called me asking why and should she pay it and I said no that’s a scam. Once she went to right URL no issues, but yeah someone not paying attention would get scammed.

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    Howard Roark May 8, 2017 at 8:53 am #

    I’m trying to think what motivates someone looking at their TV screen with a URL showing to activate their device to go ahead and Google for a different address?

    • Avatar
      Devin Serpa May 8, 2017 at 10:15 am #

      Blind trust. Which is terrible because search engines can be gamed. Page rankings, promoted links, paid ads, etc.

    • Avatar
      Sunny Rain May 8, 2017 at 10:38 am #

      Many ROKU users are not that tech savvy. So, they won’t know how to enter the URL and are therefore easy prey for scams like these.

      • Avatar
        Trey21 May 8, 2017 at 11:50 am #

        It’s sad but true. They’re plenty of people who don’t know how to enter a web address. They are mainly older folks who are 40 and above.

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          chuck_fu May 8, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

          40 and above is old? ??:-D

          • Avatar
            Trey21 May 8, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

            I wrote “older” not old. 40 year olds are a generation above me so yea they are definitely older.

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            Pebo Bryson May 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

            Gen X isn’t falling for this. Baby Boomers? More likely.

          • Avatar
            Trey21 May 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

            Gen x is not very tech savy. Maybe you’re​ around gen xers who will never fall for this but that’s not the case for the rest of them. I don’t see baby boomers buying streaming devices and trying to set them up themselves. Boomers watch tv the traditional way.

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            carl_steve May 15, 2017 at 8:43 am #

            I’m 63. I own and use daily PS3, PS4, Roku 2, Roku TV, three Windows computers, and an iMac. On the PC, I’m a power user who’s done programming, application development, web development, web mastering, software training, and more dating back to the 1980s. I’ve been building and upgrading PCs since the 1990s. I virtually never need to call tech support for help. I started using mainframes back in the 1970s. As a baby boomer, I’m far from a traditionalist–and not just in terms of watching TV. Please don’t lump everyone in a certain age group into the “too stupid to know how” category. Keep your arrogance and prejudice to yourselves.

          • Avatar
            Trey21 May 15, 2017 at 11:12 am #

            Carl you got me. I used too broad of a brush but that wasn’t out of malice. With that said don’t act like you the tech guy is the norm for people your age, younger, and older than you.

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            carl_steve May 15, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

            I haven’t made any claims about what is or isn’t the norm for anyone. The point I made in my previous post is that generalizations aren’t fair. Assuming that somebody can’t handle tech just because of their birth date (whether older or younger than you) doesn’t give them much credit. I can’t imagine why people adopt such biases. Perhaps you’ve never heard the expression “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

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            Steve Harris October 3, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

            Trey21…I am a Tech Support Veteran and have probably been doing support for more years than you have been alive and let me tell you I have seen just as many young people,middle aged people, and seniors that are challenged when it comes to Technology as I have seen people in all age groups that have no problem at all with Technology.

            That my friend is called experience and it comes with having been alive for far longer than young folks that say things like you do….little hint here: Print this post and then pull it out and read it 25 years from now and I am sure you will feel the arrogance jump right off the page and smack you upside your head 😉

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            Steve Harris October 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

            Big thumbs up Carl ! !

            I am 51 and have a similar story to yours so I definitely agree with your statement 🙂

            Broad brushing any group for any reason represents a lack of critical thinking and we should always call it out when we see it in action ! ! !

          • Avatar
            carl_steve October 6, 2017 at 10:02 am #

            I’m glad my post resonated with you. It devalues forums like this one when people cannot state their case without interjecting stereotypes and personal biases.

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            guest July 13, 2017 at 7:45 am #

            I would have to agree. As a tech support guy I see baby boomers who read the same web sites every day typing the name of those sites into a search engine to get there (instead of bookmarking the page or using autocomplete in the address bar!) They also dont close programs when they are finished to free up memory (especially on the Mac where the “X” does not always mean “quit.”) A lot of these people can barely use a computer and they are not capable of learning, no matter how many times you demonstrate something.

        • Avatar
          Wayne Perry June 22, 2017 at 11:41 am #

          OLDER? I am a 67 year old retired network administrator myself and I have no problem with any type of tech. In fact, I handle the tech for our entire family, all the way down to my grandkids. Good job stereo typing people!

        • Avatar
          amy July 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

          had to laugh at this because my brother-in-laws are all so tech savy it makes my head spin. and they are all in their late 50’s, early 60’s. My brother Bill has his entire house wire to his phone and tablet. we will be outside on his deck and he will hit something on his phone and music comes out of the side of house. he wired it all up himself, and I cannot even tell you how to turn the TV on in his living room, it is so far above my tech understanding. he has every gadget out there, some I do not even recognize. and not one single wire showing. It is amazing. And he is 60 y/o with no computer training.

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          Holly_Wight September 1, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

          Hey now. Most of us in our 40s were born into technology. We’re the ones that fixed our parents’ VCRs and bought the first CD players and DVD players on the market. We’re the ones who were surfing around on Newsgroups, Q-Link, and Compuserve in our teen years. Don’t go around saying people “over 40” have trouble with tech. We’re the ones who invented and pioneered the tech you’re talking about.

      • Avatar
        Howard Roark May 8, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

        But they know how to look at their TV screen, that says “go to this URL…”

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          Sunny Rain May 9, 2017 at 11:39 am #

          You would be surprised. Trust me.

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      Gwin DeMatteo January 17, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

      I couldn’t read the address from so far away which is why I Googled it. Shit happens. Won’t make that mistake again.

  3. Avatar
    troopersam May 8, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    Sounds like somebody taxed stupidity.

  4. Avatar
    Don May 8, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Technically, this is a service, not a scam. Even if you pay $50 to have someone​ do something you yourself could and should do, you still are buying a service.

    • Avatar
      Trey21 May 8, 2017 at 11:53 am #

      I would only consider it a service if these scamners warned their targets that paying is optional.

      • Avatar
        Don May 8, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

        That wouldn’t help their “business” much!

        • Avatar
          Trey21 May 8, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

          If being honest doesn’t help your​ business then you’re most likely a scammer.

          • Avatar
            Jesse Gurr May 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm #

            Sound like auto dealers are a scam then. Say it ain’t true!!! /sarc

    • Avatar
      RowMan May 8, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

      You may be buying a “service”, but you’ll also be handing over payment info to people that shouldn’t have it which leaves you open to more fraud.

      • Avatar
        Don May 8, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

        No argument on that point.

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      Zach Jones July 2, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

      The scams are the ones that tell the consumer this is the only way to activate their Roku.

  5. Avatar
    Pebo Bryson May 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

    Roku. Serving grandparents everywhere.

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    Bobby Narramore May 8, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    Hopefully anyone that paid for this requests a reverse payment on their cc bill

  7. Avatar
    Jak Ripper July 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm #

    Actually if GOOGLE was as friendly to customers as they claim, they would KILL this scam and almost all others with hardly and exercise….Just as with most scams searched in Google they absolutely know what scams are showing up on there search engine….occasionally one might be such a new scam that it cleverly fakes out the search engine but with proper filters all this could pretty much be over before it would start…Those that have a clue KNOW EXACTLY HOW EASY THIS WOULD BE FOR GOOGLE

  8. Avatar
    Ellis Seawell July 3, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

    This entire discussion leads me to ask why Roku doesn’t insure a link to their activation site. Isn’t this a terrible PR disaster for them, even if they are innocent of wrong doing. I wouldn’t pay for set up, because it is said to be free, but I would also just return the Roku, and buy another streamer. What am I missing?

    • Avatar
      guest July 13, 2017 at 7:29 am #

      The victims are illiterate people who primarily purchased their Roku as a cheap Netflix player because their kids or neighbors have one. But Roku is not really “innocent” here — they facilitate some of these scams by trying to monetize all of the data which they collect from their users. Roku has the worst privacy policy in the business: they are collecting every bit of personal information which they can get, and will sell that data to anyone who can pay. This includes:

      – Your email address
      – The IP address of your Roku Device
      – MAC address for your Roku (and everything else on your network)
      – The retailer you purchased your Roku from
      – Various quality measurements & error logs
      – Router name, Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and signal strength
      – EVERYTHING that you type, speak or view on the Roku device

      Several years ago, they even tried to extort thousands of dollars in monthly “access fees” from the developers of the most popular Roku apps. The ploy failed of course — but this dirty little scheme to charge web sites for being viewable on a Roku browser tells us all that we need to know about the character of the management: these are corporate gangsters.

      Roku does not believe in the open standards that made the internet work – this is a corporate mafia trying to squeeze you for all they can get, and their obsessive spying for profit makes you a target for hackers and identity thieves. When you purchase a Roku you are just paying to put a dangerous surveillance device on your network that has all the spyware in place, ready to be exploited. At the very least, you should treat the Roku as an untrusted IoT device and enable client isolation on the interface that your Roku is using to access the internet.

      The world wide web only exists today because it was based on open standards. And TV media players will end up the same way: Anyone like Roku who tries to create a monopoly based on proprietary standards is going to fail because everyone agrees that the internet is too valuable to place in the hands of a few corrupt corporations. But that doesn’t stop them from trying.

    • Avatar
      amy July 20, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

      I 100% agree with you. I was lost in a sea of websites to activate that code when I bought my Roku and I didn’t know whether there was a charge to activate it or not. I DID put in the exact web address, several times and only found the right one in a link from an article about “code scams” like this one. They need to make it much safer and clearer or have another way to activate it that is more secure.

  9. Avatar
    amy July 20, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    I was setting up my Roku today and typed in the exact address above. A half dozen websites came up to active the code. and several I tried told me to call a number due to an error. I called one number and heard a foreign mans voice saying I would have to purchase a package plan. I hung up, feeling it was a scam. But they should make it clearer on the Roku set up that is is free. I had no idea what I was doing and luckily found the right site. but there are several out there trying to scam people, and they should make it clearer on the set-up what the webpage looks like, and how to find it. Or have phone activation for the code.

  10. Avatar
    Bob August 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm #

    Query. Considering buying the new Hulu Live TV. Read that they are doing a Closed Beta Test on Roku devices but that it’s not gone public yet. There is a site that claims not only to activate the Roku but the new Hulu Live App as well. Scan yes??

  11. Avatar
    James October 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    I googled “Roku tech support” and got an 800 number because my Roku was acting up (range was short for remote and network), and got a guy claiming a system update with a one-time charge would fix this. I said this sounds like a hardware problem but I can do the firmware update myself. But he insisted this is not a firmware update but a system update, which is a crock (they are the same thing). He had a foreign accent and I could hear a room full of other people with headsets in the background so they probably do this not just for Roku, but any other devices that are broken, claiming their “system update with a one-time fee” will fix whatever ails it. Watch out for these scammers!

  12. Avatar
    John Morelli December 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    I purchased ROKU and then keyed in my activation code but got an error message! Contacted ROKU and they wanted me to go to a website so they could access my computer. Sounded pretty fishy so I hung up. I would rather throw away ROKU then let them access my computer which has passwords & IDs to my bank accounts, brokerage account etc. Is ROKU legit or is this a scam. I explained to the (ROKU?) guy on the phone who called me (I gave ROKU my phone #) that I have no problem with my computer. Its the ROKU that’s the problem! What could he possibly be doing with access to my computer?

    Can anyone who had a similar experience help me make sense of this – thank you

  13. Avatar
    Gerrie Eacret January 9, 2018 at 9:35 am #

    I”m 63 and tech savy but when i called the number and he tells me i need to pay 69.99 for service setup and i know its free a light went off in my head i hate scammers it just makes us have to be on our guard all the time . I dont know how thes people can sleep at night.