Marvel studio’s Black Widow which was released today both in theaters and online after having its release postponed repeatedly due to the Coronavirus pandemic is expected to be a worldwide blockbuster.  It seems everyone is anxious to see this movie, however, there are people who want to see the movie, but don’t want to pay for it.  Just prior to the previous scheduled release dates scammers set up phony streaming services offering to show the movie for free, but in fact just scammed their victims of money.  The same tactic was used by scammer successfully prior to the release of the Avengers: Endgame movie and the same pattern is being repeated.  Don’t be tempted to turn to one of these phony streaming services.  Attempting to stream an illegal version of the movie is not only illegal and unethical, but it could also lead to your being scammed out of money.  An online search for websites promising to provide the movie for free will take you to sites  that appear to provide the movie, but a few moments after the movie starts, it stops and a pop up appears requiring you to set up an account.  The pop up says that the account is free and that all you need to do is provide your email address and a password.  Once you do this, you are then instructed to provide a credit card number and the CVC security code on the back of the card merely to verify that you are located in a country where the website is licensed to distribute the movie.   Unfortunately, the website does not provide Black Widow.  The few minutes of what you initially see of the movie is just scenes taken from the readily available trailers for the movie.  So not only do people falling for this scam not get to see the movie, they end up providing their credit card information to the scammers in addition to providing a password, which, in too many instances, is the same password the scam victim uses for other online services such as online banking.  The moral of this story is that trying to view a pirated version of a popular movie for free will only cause to put you into a predicament that even the Avengers couldn’t get you out of.

TIPS

The first and foremost tip is not to do use illegal streaming services.  They are illegal and what they are doing is also unethical.  Don’t trust search engine searches to provide you with legitimate websites for streaming services.  A prominent position in a Google or other search engine search only means that the websites appearing high were adept at understanding the algorithms used to position websites.  Never provide a credit card as a means of verification.  It is only a means of payment and as for the justification in this particular scam that the credit card was needed to verify that you are located in a country where the website is licensed to distribute the movie, pirated versions are not licensed anywhere.   Finally, as always, you should have unique passwords for all of your online accounts so that in the event that a password on one of your accounts is hacked or otherwise compromised, all of your accounts will not be in jeopardy.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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