Getting something for nothing sounds like a good deal, but often there’s a hidden cost, the Federal Trade Commission reports. Especially, if the something is a site or app offering free downloads or live-streaming of the latest blockbuster movies, popular TV shows, big-league sporting events, and really cool games.
The real cost is probably malware downloaded to your device, says the FTC. Frequently, sites offering free content mask malware that can blast you with ads, take control of your computer, or steal your personal information.
The FTC recently downloaded movies from five sites that offered them for free. In all five cases, the computers were infected with malware and a flurry of unwanted ads.
In addition, downloading pirated content is illegal — which can lead you to be liable for hefty fines and more bad karma.
Beware, some free download sites also ask for a credit card to “process your registration.” It’s definitely not a good idea to give your credit card number to a site offering illegally downloaded content. These sites are run by “pirates” — and are not legitimate businesses. Do not trust them with your financial information, advises the FTC.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the U.S.’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace.