As I have told you many times, scammers constantly take advantage of whatever is of interest to the public and turn it into a scam.  The recent Academy Awards brought a lot of attention  movies such as best picture winning “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and Avatar: The Way of Water.”  Every year there are movie piracy websites that appear to offer free access to pirated downloads of these movies. This year the number of such sites increased by 20%.

Attempting to stream an illegal version of a movie is not only illegal and unethical, but it could also lead to your being scammed out of money.  Many of these scam websites and malicious files require you to take a survey in order to see the free, pirated version of the movie.  These surveys may ask for personal information including credit card information that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.  In other instances the phishing websites and malicious files will automatically download malware on to your phone or computer.


The first and foremost tip is not to 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.

Another red flag that indicates that the website offering to provide a movie for free is a scam is the extension used for the video file.  Common extensions for video files are avi, mkv and mp4. However, malware loaded files often end in .exe so that if you see that extension on the attached file, you know it is a scam.  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.

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