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Susan Tompor: Roku setup, activation scam doesn't include cold calls, bogus links: What to know

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

David built some level of trust by being pleasant and guiding her on what to do next to set things up.

"The guy was actually kind of helpful," McDonald said.

So when he offered a lifetime full service plan for about $190 she signed up, paid him with a debit card and didn't think much of it. She thought she was buying a lifetime of software support and digital services.

Sure, the so-called service was more than twice the price of the device, which she bought for $80. (Her Roku device had an Ethernet port, which connects to a home network and the Internet via wired cable.)

And she didn't check the service out. She just thought it might help her in the long run.

"In the pandemic, streaming was my favorite companion," she said.


McDonald, a freelance journalist, kind of sneered at TV most of her life. But says things changed during the isolation that many felt as part of the social distancing measures during the fight against COVID-19.

She's been watching the last season of "Madam Secretary" on Netflix and "Father Brown" on BritBox.

Maureen McDonald ended up dishing out $189.99 to scam operators who pretended to offer a lifetime service that include a fee for activation of her new Roku device and technical support.

"In the midst of the pandemic in the winter, you get a lot more dependent on TV than you used to be," said McDonald, 71.


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