Have you ever come across a website that offered you to download movies for free? If so, it is likely that your data and device were exposed to security risks. It is common for hackers to use pirate movie content as bait to lure users into their trap. The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about malicious attachments and malware placed inside stolen movies. They aim to raise awareness about potential risks when downloading pirated content. Read on to learn how you can avoid free movie scams and protect your data and devices.
Are Free Movies Safe to Download?
Even though free movie offers are very tempting, they’re a very unsafe way to obtain entertaining content. The majority of sites that offer movies for free shower users with tons of ads and suspicious links that can lead to security threats. Besides being potentially harmful to your computer, free movies are almost always illegal to download.
With that said, the only time it is safe to watch or download movies online is if you are doing it through a paid service. Subscription services such as Netflix or HBO offer plenty of content at affordable monthly fees. Besides providing access to hundreds of movies and TV shows, these services will keep your data and devices secured.
How to Avoid Free Movie Scams
Cybercriminals use free movies to trick users and spread malware or gain access to networks and computers. The best way to avoid such scams is to stay away from pirate content because it is not worth the risk. Instead of searching through suspicious sites, opt for a monthly subscription service, and you will get access to all the movies you need. Many users fall for the trap because they’re not aware of the potential risks when it comes to piracy and websites associated with these activities.
This is why it is essential to learn how to recognize a fake website with illegal content that most likely contains malware and viruses. Here’s how you can spot a suspicious site easily:
• Most sites that offer free movies are not well-designed. Hackers don’t put a lot of effort into making these sites look legit. That’s why most of them have grammar and spelling errors, unprofessional graphics, and horrible fonts. If the site you’re looking at has any of these features, it is likely a scam.
• The easiest way to recognize a potential scam is if you click to play the actual video, but the site takes you to a fake page. This fake page tells users that they need to download a plugin to be able to play the movie. However, those who fall for the trick end up downloading malware instead of a plugin software as promised.
• Another simple way to spot a potential scam is if the site keeps taking you to different links. If you are constantly being redirected to another page while trying to play the movie, it is likely that hackers are trying to distract you and trick you into sharing sensitive information.
• Persistent pop-up ads are another sign that a website is a complete scam. No professional website will have more than one pop-up on the page because it ruins the user experience. However, since these websites are far from professional, they shower visitors with pop-up ads that carry infected links and redirect them to other fake sites.
• Avoiding piracy in general is the best way to prevent malware from entering your device. If you accidentally find yourself on one of these shady sites, we highly recommend using a virtual private network (get one here). A VPN encrypts users’ traffic by routing them through a protected server replacing your real IP address with a new one to ensure online privacy and anonymity from would-be hackers.
People are naturally drawn to free stuff. But as you can see, free movie sites are often a scam, not to mention downright illegal. So it’s best to stay on the safe side and only stream or download movies from official movie providers you can trust.