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14th May 2024

Experts issue warning on risks of illegally streaming sports and films

Callum Boyle


Logo Partner

Helping people to find a safe way to watch the programmes they love

A brand new initiative called BeStreamWise has been launched to help raise awareness of the dangers that may come with illegally streaming TV, sports and film.

With the cost of living crisis affecting us all, we’re all looking to find a way of indulging in the entertainment we love at a fraction of the price. But illegal streams are not the answer. While streaming illegally might initially seem harmless, using illegitimate methods risks giving criminals access to your devices.

This can lead to any number of problems such as viruses on your devices, identity theft and even sharing your personal details with scammers and hackers that could escalate into fraud.

BeStreamWise is a partnership of groups like FACT, The Intellectual Property Office, Sky, ITV, BBC, and BASE that aims to make sure you know the risks of illegally streaming content.

They want to raise awareness of the dangers you face and to champion the ways you can find safer options to enjoy the content you love.

According to recent studies, over 2.7 million illegal streamers had their devices infected with viruses in the UK. A separate study also revealed that 32 per cent of people who illegally stream in the UK say they or someone they know have been a victim of fraud, scams, or identity theft as a result.

Scammers and hackers regularly use devices like Amazon Firesticks that are pre-loaded or can be easily modified to access illegal streams and sold for a fraction of the price of legitimate methods. By buying devices like this you expose yourself to plenty of dangers.

Illegal streaming sites will offer free access to copyrighted content, while links to similar content can also be shared across social media platforms. Sites and apps are often used to deliver dangerous or malicious content, such as malware, sophisticated scams, and extreme/explicit content.

When consumers part with personal information, such as email addresses or payment details to join these illegal streaming sites, they should be aware that they are sharing their details with criminal organisations. However, knowledge of just how dangerous these sites can be is still new to a lot of people.

In fact, one in 10 people (in a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Opinium) actually think there is no risk at all when it comes to illegally streaming content.

To change that way of thinking and to open people’s eyes to just how dangerous it can be, BeStreamWise have devised a list of top tips that can help you identify any risks that come with streaming from an illegal site and why it is better to avoid them at all costs.

Online pop up ads

Beware of online pop-up ads and ads for streaming services online. Verify their legitimacy independently by researching the brand. A simple way to do this is by searching the provider’s name alongside “SCAM” to uncover information about it. If it is a scam, you may find feedback about this online.

Only use legitimate services to watch TV, sports and film content. If you’re not sure, it’s best to check.

Never share your financial details online or elsewhere unless you know for sure

Be suspicious of adverts that use urgency or other pressure tactics to get you to buy or subscribe. Don’t act in the heat of the moment. It is always best to verify their official website or with their customer service before choosing to go ahead with any payment.

Choose your password carefully

Always make sure to use a variety of numbers, letters and special characters in your password to make it hard to detect. Also using multi-factor verification gives an extra layer of protection.

Check bank statements regularly

Always keep on top of your bank statements to make sure you can spot any suspicious activity.

Scams come in various forms

It’s not just an internet pop up. A scam could come in any form whether that be email, text and even social media. Spot the signs such as scammers asking for money or even links to open attachments. Double check every time and if you have even the slightest doubt, do not send.

If you do notice any signs that something may be a scam or you have information to suggest someone is a scammer, you can contact law enforcement who will act swiftly to keep everyone as safe as they can.

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