New device? Don't fall for this activation scam

Scammers want to trick you into paying for services you can get for free.

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of a new scam where con artists charge activation fees for things that are completely free to set up.

The BBB said people trying to activate a new device sometimes search online for the customer support phone number of the device. Somehow they end up getting a phony number.

When they call that number, they are told that they have to pay an activation fee. The scammers usually ask for unusual forms of payment, like prepaid gift cards. Later, they may also tell you there was a problem with the first payment and ask for a second payment.

Troubleshooter Takeaways
  • Make sure you are visiting an official website. Scammers are skilled at creating look-alike websites with addresses that are spelled slightly different than the official website's address. Carefully double-check the URL or go directly to the site listed in your device's instruction booklet.
  • Beware of sponsored links. Fake websites sometimes pop up in your web browser's sponsored ad section and appear at the top of the search list. Be careful what you click on.
  • Never make a payment with a prepaid debit or gift card. Reputable companies will never ask you to wire money or pay with prepaid cards. This is a big red flag that consumers need to be aware of. Money sent this way cannot be recuperated.
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