While attendance at movie theaters generally continues to be dramatically reduced from pre-pandemic levels,  in-theater attendance at the new “Spiderman: No Way Home” movie is breaking box office records around the world.  Unlike  Marvel studio’s” Black Widow” which was released simultaneously both in theaters and online last summer after having its release postponed repeatedly due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the new Spiderman movie is presently only available in theaters  However, there are many people who either don’t want to go to a theater due to the pandemic or merely prefer to watch movies conveniently at home and scammers are taking advantage of this situation by setting up sites that purport to provide you with a streaming version of the movie, but end up either taking your money or harming your computer.

Just prior to the previous scheduled release dates of a number of popular movies during the last couple of years including Black Widow, John Wick 3, Joker and Avengers Endgame scammers set up phony streaming services offering to show the movie for free, but in fact just scammed their victims out of their money.

In some of the scams 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 “Spiderman: No Way Home.”  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.

In an unusual twist on the scams tied to the new Spiderman movie, ReasonLabs, a cybersecurity company discovered a scam whereby people attempting to download the movie end up actually downloading a crypto-mining tool used to mine Monero, a cryptocurrency.  Unfortunately, this tool will slow down your computer and otherwise negatively affect your computer’s use as well as increase your electric bill as it requires much electrical power for mining.


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 cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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