UK Fire TV Stick crackdown might stop you streaming content for good

With the cost of living crisis continuing to hurt family finances it’s not surprising that some UK homes are looking for cheap or even free ways of tuning into premium TV. Over the past few years, there has been a surge in criminals adapting devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV Stick to offer access to platforms like Sky for vastly reduced prices.

Getting Sky Sports and Cinema without paying the usual high cost is clearly enticing but police are warning about the risks of streaming without permission.

“Illegal streaming is a huge issue for the industry and while it may seem like a low-risk, high-reward crime, the proceeds are used to fund other serious forms of criminal activity. At the same time, it can expose end users to the risks of data theft, fraud and malware,” explained Detective Chief Inspector Emma Warbey, from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) at City of London Police.

The latest warning has been issued after another major crackdown saw the City of London Police execute a week of action against sellers of illegal streaming devices – especially those offering modified Fire Sticks.

The operation, in conjunction with FACT and the Premier League, targeted a total of 11 individuals across the UK including locations such as Portsmouth, Wales, Hartlepool, Middlesborough, Leeds, Manchester and Bury.

During the raids, one person was arrested and a further 10 interviewed under caution.

“By targeting grassroots sellers, we are sending out a clear message that this will not be tolerated,” Warbey added

“PIPCU will continue to work with partners across law enforcement and the industry to take action against those who provide illegal streaming services and protect consumers against the risks associated with using them.”

Kieron Sharp, CEO at FACT added: “The success achieved through this targeted operation is directly attributable to the outstanding effort and robust support from PIPCU. By implementing these measures, a strong message has been conveyed: piracy is a criminal act that is treated with utmost seriousness and decisive action will be taken against suppliers of illicit services regardless of their size or scale.”

Although streaming content might seem attractive, it does come with its dangers. Adapted Fire TV Sticks can open homes up to downloading malware, seeing inappropriate content and getting scammed.

The latest research from BeStreamWise suggests that 1 in 3 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.

It’s also thought that over 2.7 million illegal streamers have had their devices infected with viruses in the UK. It’s worth taking note and this warning might make you think twice about wathing content for free.


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